Monday, December 15, 2008

A Mugful of Holiday Cheer!


Glögg is a warm Swedish mulled beverage that is normally prepared with fruit extracts, spices, sugar. Usually it's made with red wine and/or something stronger, such as brandy. However, it can also be prepared non-alcoholic by using fruit juices instead of wine. It's a very Christmassy drink, good for the cold weather. I usually enjoy a mugful of a German version of it at the Daley Plaza every year at Christkindlmarket, the open air German Christmas Village they set up downtown. Also, my Swedish-American uncle used to make Glögg for our family New Year's Day party every year, so it's very much a part of my family holiday tradition. He passed away this year, so I decided I wanted to try my hand at making it, in his memory.

I randomly found this recipe online, and decided to give it a shot since it looked pretty good. It turned out decently well, but we decided it could stand to use more wine and brandy. The almonds and raisins, which are supposed to just be "garnish", really overwhelmed the final product, and I even ended up finishing off my Glögg by eating the almonds off the bottom with a spoon. In fact, there was enough left over (that didn't get put into our mugs) for our friend to make another dessert out of the extras.

Also, the original recipe said it yielded 24 servings. We only prepared 1/2 the recipe, and it looked way less than 12 servings. We fit it into 2 mugs (see top picture), and each mug probably could have been 2 servings. So that would make it around 4 servings (6 if you make the servings REALLY small). In that case, I'd estimate the original recipe to be 8-12 servings.

Anyways, despite the surprisingly large amount of almonds & raisins, and the surprisingly little amount of liquid, I'd still say the recipe was a success. It tasted really good--maybe a bit too sweet, but I still like it better than the version they have at Christkindlmarket. We're going to try out a modified version of the recipe for our holiday dinner party next weekend. We'll probably halve the almonds, raisins, and sugar, and double the wine and brandy.

Below is the original recipe, plus my notes!

Yield: 24 servings 8-12 servings
For the challenge, we halved everything since there were only 2 of us drinking.
2 (750 milliliter) bottles red wine
2 ounces dried orange zest
2 ounces cinnamon sticks
20 whole cardamom seeds
25 whole cloves
1 pound blanched almonds
1 pound raisins
1 pound sugar cubes
5 fluid ounces brandy

Pour wine into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Wrap orange zest, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and cloves in cheesecloth, tie with kitchen string and put into pot. [We didn't have a cheesecloth, so we put the orange zest, cardamom, and cloves in a large tea ball instead, and put that into the put. We just threw the cinnamon sticks in, unwrapped, into the pot, and fetched them out later.]

Let boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in almonds and raisins and continue to boil for 15 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Place a wire grill over the pot and cover with sugar cubes. Slowly pour on brandy, making sure to completely saturate the sugar. Light sugar with a match and let it flame. When sugar has melted, cover pot with lid to extinguish flame. Stir and remove spice bag. [Our friend vetoed the above step because he didn't trust us with an open flame :-P So instead, he placed the sugar and brandy into the pot and used a flame-thrower of some sort to melt the sugar]

Serve hot in cups with a few almonds and raisins.

**And as I mentioned before, we got a bonus dessert out of this! To make the bonus dessert, my friend took some of the almonds & raisins that didn't get used as garnish in the Glögg, and placed them into individual serving cups. He placed sugar cubes on top, and caramelized them with the flame-thrower pictured above. Stir well, and eat!**

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