On a snowy winter’s eve in Sweden, nothing warms the body, flushes the cheeks, and starts the party quite like a steaming mug of glögg. Known as gløgg in Norway and glöggi in Finland, the spiritous, spiced mulled wine is a classic Christmas treat across Scandinavia and beyond.
Recipes vary widely, but the beverage typically contains red wine, sugar, orange peel, and spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. The latter gives glögg its iconic aroma, which has been compared to “a warmed-up bowl of Froot Loops.” Most versions also contain blanched almonds and raisins, which you can scoop up with a small spoon between sips.
But don’t be fooled by the drink’s comforting essence. There’s nothing tame about glögg. Most batches are spiked with some serious booze. Swedes are known to slip in a generous amount of aquavit, the nation’s signature spirit, but port, brandy, rum, or whiskey will do just as well. For kids and those abstaining, nonalcoholic glögg can be made with a fruit juice base.
In Sweden, the beloved beverage is served in the weeks leading up to Christmas on December 25. In other words, you can guzzle freely-flowing glögg nonstop—which isn’t such a bad thing, until you ingest too much of the holiday spirit, a feeling one reporter quite aptly dubbed “glögg fatigue.”