It's Christmas in a minute or two, and from my windows overlooking the big lakes of Copenhagen I watch people rushing back and forth in the typical December rain. They're probably leaving one Christmas party to go to the next. This month is not only about stressful giftshopping or Christmas Eve preparations or even killing trees in massive numbers.
No, we also enjoy a Christmas parties galore here in Denmark -- at the school, at the local gym team, in the shops, on the job -- and everyone serves glögg, the sweet red wine-based Christmas drink that you Americans call "mulled wine". By the time you reach Dec 10th you're ready to throw yourself over an icy cliff the next time someone offers you a cup of this, but until then it's actually quite nice.
It's a good excuse for moms to get their drank on while taking part in their kids' kindergarten daytime Christmas party, boozing it up with the other high-strung, over-achieving power women in the corner who want to breed perfect kids, make a successful career and be hot as hell in bed. They usually fail in the first category -- modern kids are nasty, seriously. Needless to say, a good intoxicating cup of hot glögg or three can take the edge off for a little while.
Most peeps just buy this stuff in a carton, heat it, throw in some Glögg Mix consisting of pre-chopped almonds and raisins and pour it down their throat. But since this is a food blog I have tried to make it from scratch, following some guidelines I found online. And surprisingly, it's really easy and quick!
*WARNING: This is the Devil's blood though. Unless you boil the shit out of this glögg and thereby lose the alcohol, it's still red wine and you're gon' get DRUNK if you can't stay away from the bowl, bitches! Soon you'll find yourself grabbing Santa's balls at your Christian neighbour's Christmas party and it won't be pretty. So please keep this in mind while scooping up the raisins soaked in alcohol, and licking the sugar off the glass. This stuff is like crack.
Serves 4-5 people
1 bottle of red wine
1 whole stick of cinnamon
2-3 cardamom pods
1/2 organic lemon
85 g sugar (2/3 cup)
2 Pomerans (Seville orange or "bitter orange")
12 whole cloves
100 g raisins (about 3/4 cup)
100 g almonds (about 3/4 cup)
1) Pour the red wine in a pot and put the cinnamon and cardamom in a little cheese cloth with the wine so it can give off spicy vibes.
2) Warm up the wine almost to the boiling point, turn off under the pot and let it sit with the lid on for 5 min.
3) Stick the cloves into the pomeran oranges and place them in a heated (glass) bowl along with the raisins and almonds (preferably blanched).
4) Zest the half lemon, squeeze its juice out and put it all into the wine pot along with the sugar.
5) Pour the wine into the heated bowl and let it sit for 2-3 min with a cloth on top.
6) Serve in small glass mugs with a spoon.
7) Super easy -- and something your friends will definitely find interesting! Goes well with æbleskiver (Danish donut holes), waffles, pepper cookies and other traditional Christmas sweets.
So I gave it all a go at home. I made half a portion since it was only me and it was a test.
This is a bottle of red wine, that's about what I know about that stuff. It was about $10 which the cheapest you can go here in DK without drinking pure acid.
I spend a fortune on spices since the only place you can find them are at the farmer's market where you pay $6 for a little bag with 25g.
Pomerans/ Seville oranges are sugar boiled orange peels which are spicy/bitter/chewy. Very x-massy.
More fruit: organic lemon.
I forgot to buy whole cinnamon sticks at the farmer's market so all I had at home was organic grounded cinnamon. That'll have to do this time.
Cloves - these are essential for glögg, they're the epitome of Christmas flavours and smells!
Big bag of organic raisins, it was the smallest I could get. Eugh, I hate raisin. What am I gonna do with all these???
Almonds - I was too lazy to blanch them, sorry. They really should be blanched, but since it's only me drinking this - who cares?
Whole cardamom. I'd never seen these before, but God they smell good!
Open the wine and pour it all into a pot on the stove. I actually thought cork was out of fashion here in 2011? Is it back in again?
Since I didn't prepare well enough and had no cheese cloth, I decided to try and use my tea filter. Which would work if I had actually remembered buying whole cinnamon sticks.
So in the end I decide to chuck it all into the pot and filter afterwards.
Heat it up! Almost til it boils. The leave for 5 min with lid on.
Stick the cloves into the pomeran orange. Seriously, can this be a more iconic Christmas activity? Old school.
Zest the lemon...
...then squeeze the juice out.
When everything's ready, pour it all into the hot wine. Stir well.
Find a big glass bowl somewhere in your kitchen. It should be pretty. If all you have is a wooden salad bowl like me, use it (but shame on you). Christmas should be aesthtically pleasing.
We can share the shame.
Place the underwater mine pomeran on the bottom and sprinkle the raisins and almonds on top. I really should've blanched those almonds, but maybe this is more healthy...?
Now, filter the red wine to avoid big cardamom capsules in your mouth later on. Of course I skipped this step as well.
Pour over the hot wine.
Since it's only half full I chose to turn the pomeran upside down so it'll soak up the flavours better.
Cover the bowl for a few minutes with a clean cloth and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Most people actually leave it on the heat and turn it on now and then to keep it warm.
Now serve in small glasses. Or big, like me.
Remember to provide a small spoon so people can scoop up the raisins and almonds.
WOW! This stuff is good! Surprisingly good actually. Even better than the store bought, factory-perfected cartons they sell here in Denmark.
And of course I had one big glass and already felt the hammer on my forehead, bam. I usually don't drink much so the Devil's Blood hits hard.
Enjoy! Happy holidays and love from Copenhagen, Denmark, Skankynavia.