Though wine flavored with spices has been a go-to tipple since the 1600s—it’s thought to have been an easy way to cover the flavor of bad wine—the term “mulled wine” didn’t really exist until the mid-1800s. A few decades later, Swedish mulled wine fortified with port—otherwise known as Glögg—surged in popularity. It is still a Christmas tradition today. Though it’s typically served in a mug with raisins and blanched almonds, it can also be garnished with a clove-studded orange wheel to enhance the drink’s notes of citrus and baking spice.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the wine, port and juice from the orange and lemon.
- Tie up the orange and citrus zests in a cheesecloth bundle along with the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and ginger. Drop into the pot.
- Add the almonds, raisins and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes until almonds are soft.
- Skim off the foam from time to time, and taste, adding sugar as necessary.
- Once 15 minutes are up, remove the cheesecloth bundle.
- Add the aquavit or brandy, and ladle into mugs.
- Garnish with clove-studded orange wheels.
Mix it Up
Don’t worry about buying a super expensive wine for your Glögg, but do make sure it’s high enough quality to sip on its own. We suggest something sturdy, dry and fruity like Cabernet, Grenache or Merlot.
The term wassail has been used in the English language for more than 1,000 years, beginning as a simple greeting to wish someone well. During the 13th century, the term "wassail bowl" described a large bowl of ale in which revelers would dip bread and cakes (a practice which gave birth to our modern use of the word "toast"). Nowadays, though...