To warm your winter world, try a glass of hot red wine 'mulled' with spices, fruit and for good luck, an almond. In Finland and Sweden, mulled wine is called 'glöggi' and 'vinglögg', because, I dare to say, for the easy way it glug-glugs down our throats.
Twas a magical end to a year of hard work and four-continent travel. On Christmas Day, I booked a ticket to Finland to spend New Year’s with the Finnish ‘family’ who so warmly welcomed a young exchange student into their home two decades earlier.
Hurry was important: my Finnish mother was afflicted with the scourge of Alzheimers. Already, my Finnish sister warned, “Äiti (mother) may not recognize you.”
But Äiti did recognize me, not at first, only when I attempted much-rusty Finnish conversation. The first words to emerge were the Finnish names for foods, the subject of many patient after-school kitchen lessons all those years ago. In the present, she listened closely for some minutes, then laughed out loud, incredulous. “Alu?” she said. “You’ve come back!”
Later that afternoon, my Finnish sister and I sat in the soft light of a coffee shop. We wrapped bone-cold hands around glass cups of gloggi, hot red wine fortified with spices, fruit, a touch of sugar and, for good luck, an almond. Outside in the darkness that falls early so far north, new snow muffled an already holiday-quiet city. All was well, for auld lange syne, indeed. Happy New Year’s to one, to all.
RECIPE for GLÖGGI
(Hot Red Mulled Wine)
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes about 4-1/2 cups
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1-1/2 cups tawny port
- 3 – 4 thin slices of fresh ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 cardamom seeds
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Whole almonds
In a saucepan, bring all ingredients except sugar just to a boil but do not allow to boil. Stir in the sugar and stir until dissolved.
If there’s time, turn off the heat and let the flavors meld for a couple of hours before serving. Gloggi may be made 24 or 48 hours before serving, just cover and refrigerate. Before serving, return just to a boil but do not allow to boil. Remove the ginger and cinnamon. If you like (I don’t bother), strain out the spices and citrus zests.
To serve, drop a few currants and an almond into each glass and serve hot.
ALANNA’s TIPS Consider a double or triple batch, mulled wine is nice to have on hand for the holidays. My Dutch oven easily handles a triple batch.
A Menu for the Winter Solstice, New Year's Eve
or a Cold Winter Night
Cranberry Orange Spread with Crackers
Black Pepper Almonds
~ Glöggi (Mulled Wine) ~
Beef Stew with Cranberries or Finnish Meatballs
Swedish Red Cabbage
(from A Veggie Venture)
Lighter Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Apple Crisp or Finnish Fruit Tart
~ more Scandinavian recipes ~
More Recipes for Warming a Body from the Inside Out
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