A Brief History Of Glögg And Mulled Wines.
Glögg is a Swedish mulled wine similar to other mulled wines from other countries. I’ve had many mulled wines, and this style is my favorite. Keep in mind there are as many Glögg recipes as there are Swedish Families, with each family having its own unique family recipe. Glögg is the shorthand way of saying “glödgad vin,” which roughly translates to “hot wine” or “mulled wine,” and the term was most likely coined around the early 17th century. Spiced wines, in general, date to the Romans. They had a spiced wine they called Hippocras. Unfortunately, there are no actual Roman recipes for it. At least that I could find. It was not till the 1300s that the English and French started to specify the spices to use, and it’s essentially what is still used today.
Associated with the holidays in modern times, the process of mulling and cooking wine and beer originally began as a way to make old alcohol taste better. Before modern sterile bottling and refrigeration, beer and wine had a limited shelf life. Adding spices and heating the alcohol was one way to turn the taste and help mask foul flavors. One such recipe for a hot ale flip comes from the 1669 book “The Closet” by Sir Kenelme Digbie is an ale with a honey recipe specifically for beer that is about to go bad. Sir Kenelme Digbie described cooking old beer with honey would help the turned old beer and “set the whole a working a fresh, and casting out foulness.” Like most other methods of early food preservation, mulled wines eventually became more refined and desirable. Mulled wines found a home as fancy drinks at holidays and church festivities.
While Americans are usually very good at mixing alcoholic drinks, mulled wines are best made outside the US, and Glögg is an excellent example of that. The issue with American mulled wine recipes is that they cook the wine for hours on end in a slow cooker like a tough hunk of pork shoulder. Using a slow cooker to make mulled wine became trendy in the 1970s, and mulled wines have never recovered. Skip the slow cooker and infuse the fortifying spirit with the spices for 1 to 2 days, or if pressed for time, boil the spices in a small amount of water for one to two hours and add the water to the wine.
- 1971 Crock-Pot Cookbook – Rival Manufacturing Company
- 2011 Huffpost Glogg Article and Recipe
- Top Ranking Swedish Language Glögg Recipe (as of writing this)
NOTE: This recipe is a combination of an 1898 wine blending manual I found on Huffpost and an elderly neighbor of mine who gave me his father’s old recipe. The HuffPost author doesn’t cite the recipe, but the ingredients and volumes used look like other old recipes I have found. I believe it’s real.
Also, the 1898 recipes use bitter almonds, but I have them substituted for bitter almond extract. BE WARNED! Real bitter almonds are pretty poisonous if not prepared and cooked correctly. If you do not know how to cook with them and test for hydrogen cyanide after, it’s best to be safe and use bitter almond extract instead.