The winds have finally turned. The sweaty, fumbling hands of summer, eagerly trying to get at the little remains of any part of this country’s sweet tender flesh that wasn’t on the brink of bursting into flames seem to finally have released its hunt for us.
Luckily, the slight shivering grip that summer holds on the few remaining survivors, making it unreasonably warm in spite of it being September, isn’t enough to stifle my joy as we’re heading into my favorite part of the year: Autumn, to be followed by Christmas. With the Christmassy scent that wafts through my residence every year in September, I better enjoy it; otherwise it’d just be a massive buzz kill.
Because you see, my fellow internetters, every year when autumn rolls around, I make my own glögg. Of course, the recipe itself isn’t at all unique nor lovingly made by my grandmother’s grandmother to be passed down unto me with a low whisper; “Take care of this piece of history and pass it on to future generations”. No, it was just posted as a classic in a local newspaper in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. I found it while googling. There’s a meaningful back story for ya.
Anyways, in Sweden it’s called glögg, with its internationally more classy cousins glühwein, mulled wine and vin chaud. This version of glögg my friends, is the epitome of rural folksy drunkenness. Taste wise, it’s up there in the fancy lounges, but during the making of it, it’s certainly an ugly duckling.
In short, all you need is spices, a watered down kind of beverage called “weak drink” (yes, whatever prejudice you have in mind is about correct), potatoes to give that real folky kind of feel, the disgusting wreckages of grapes also known as raisins, sugar and yeast. Sounds delish, right? Now dump all of that together in a classy as fuck plastic bucket (food grade of course) that’s left to ferment at the warmest coziest spot of your dwelling and in four weeks’ time, you’ll be plastered stiff by this magical, red-brownish mishmash of everything that’s enjoyable in Christmas times except for saffron. Don’t worry; I’m sure you can add that later on anyways.
Now, this recipe is quite simple, and I will list it, but I firstly I need to talk about the “weak drink”. The name is pure Swedish-English translation and it’s kind of like... It’s like if you would drink half a can of actual beer and then leave it out overnight, having the classic Swedish night rain fill up the can with water and expel all forms of alcohol in it. I would imagine it tasting pretty close to the weak drink. So I mean, you Americans out there can just choose your regular beer. BOOM!
Okay, so now we all know how to MAKE it. But how does it look? Unfortunately, I have to inform you that it is an ugly mess during construction. Your friends will shy away when they see it. You will be thinking “What have I done?”. The only person who won’t actively shy away from the hot, fermentation-fizzy freak of a bucket is that one relative you have who eats just about anything.
Example of how you could try classying it up a little, because adding a wooden box adds that air of craftmanship. The saying “Lipstick on a pig” could fit here.
But don’t worry. When it’s all said and done, and it’s been left to its own devices for four to six weeks, you ladle off the floaty bits and then punish it by putting it in below freezing temperatures for a while in order for all the swimming bits to sink to the bottom. Then you just hose the clear, beautifully scented glögg into bottles, careful not to get the bottom sludge along, and in tightly shut bottles, it’ll keep for up to three years!
HOME MADE GLÖGG, RECIPE!
5 liters of weak drink (watered down beer-ish tasting alcohol free fizzy drink)
5 sliced potatoes
50 grams of fresh yeast for sweet doughs
15 grams of whole cloves
20 grams of cardamom seeds
5 cm’s of fresh ginger, shaved and divided in four pieces
1 cinnamon stick
300-500 grams of raisins
2.5 kilos of sugar
3 dried bits of bitter orange peel (the original recipe is without this)
Mix it all in a ten liter bucket, put saran wrap with poked aeration holes over the top, let sit for 4-6 weeks. If your house is cold, find the warmest spot. I found that under 17C/62F, the fermentation goes into hibernation and we don’t want that!
Clarify with cold or whatever method you like to use. Siphon the cleared glögg without getting the bottom silt with you. Heat up and drink! The Swedish style is with almonds and raisins dropped into it.
A warning has to go out; if you drink as much as you like of it, the picture above will be a true representation of how you feel, and… see. So, it’s for grown ups to enjoy only. You’ll notice that when you sniff it for the first time and your false lashes pops right off of your face when meeting the warm, surprisingly alcoholic winds of your home made glögg.