Guest Post by Sean Lorre
Besides the obvious excitements and disappointments associated with what Santa would or wouldn’t leave me under the tree, my favorite thing about Christmas as a kid was the wonderful smells of the holiday. The scent of the tree, the aroma of Christmas cookies in the oven, sugar and spice and… well, you get the picture.
As part of the annual holiday festivities, my family gathered at my grandpa Marlowe’s house for Christmas brunch. Sure, there was merriment, gift giving, good cheer and something about the baby Jesus, I think, but, like all Marlovian holidays, Christmas was mainly about two things: eating and drinking. An entire room of my grandfather’s spacious Victorian house was dedicated to the foods and potables of the season. Featured in this den of holiday delights was Glögg, a steaming, sometimes flaming –Glögg is traditionally served en flambé—ruby red elixir made of red wine, high-proof spirits, citrus and spices, whose scent for me was the very embodiment of Christmas.
For years, I looked forward to the day that I would be old enough to not only smell the Glögg, but to taste it. Unfortunately, by the time I was of sufficient years to drink among family members, Christmas brunch was relocated to the home of my one and only tee-totaling uncle and Glogg was off the menu. When Rose and I decided to host a Christmas party last year I knew I finally had my opportunity, a Marlowe tradition would be reborn!
1 cup aquavit
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamon seeds, crushed
1 orange peel spiral
1 lemon peel spiral (optional)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Combine aquavit, wine , sugar, spices and orange peel in a saucepan. Heat but do not boil. The original recipe from my mother’s Scandinavian cookbook calls for twice as much booze and to “light with a match and pour burning into heat proof glasses.” I prefer to keep my pyrotechnics and alcohol consumption separate, but if you are feeling adventurous, go for it!
Glögg was just as delicious to drink as I always imagined. The depth of flavor from the wine mixed with the aromatics and the belly-warming quality of the aquavit creates a perfect balance, truly holiday cheer in a glass.
Tasting notes: I’ve found that a middle-of-the road red wine works best. Something that is not too dry but not too fruit-forward either. I like to use a malbec as they are usually well-balanced and have good body. If you don’t have access to/want to go out and buy aquavit, rum, brandy, moonshine, etc, will work.