Glögg is an essential part of Christmas all over Scandinavia. This is recipe was created by my sister-in-law Annika in her Gothenburg kitchen. It’s so very easy to make glögg at home – give it a go. You can reduce or increase the sugar to your liking – and do play around with adding and taking some spices away to make your own signature mulled wine.
Serve Nordic ‘Glögg’ mulled wine warm in smaller glasses with raisins and almonds.
It’s December, it’s the weekend – this can only mean one thing: Glögg party.
We Scandinavians do love any excuse to pop over to each other’s house and have a tipple and some homemade cake or biscuit. Those dark December days are just perfect for this: Spend time with lovely people, letting them know you care – and serve delicious mulled wine to give everybody rosy cheeks before they head back into the cold air.
If you are in Scandinavian, you may attend 2 or even 3 of these parties in a weekend, because everybody hosts Glogg parties. You will find that the ‘Glögg’ mulled wine tends to be served in smaller cups in Scandinavia, mainly because we would otherwise be hammered by the time we reach Auntie Agneta’s house and we would, inevitably, end up making a comment about her slightly weird collection of garden gnomes. However, if you are outside Scandiland, you will probably just attend one or two a weekend, so feel free to go for it. Jut be warned: Glögg mulled wine will make your nose red like Rudolf and your ears will feel very warm. Basically, you turn into Elf if you overdo it. You’ve been warned.
Here’s how to host your own Scandinavian Glögg party this Christmas
Set the scene.
Think lots of candles, simple decorations… Hearts, spruce. No tinsel, just nice, stylish cosy Christmas decorations. Maybe a tree – but if you are going to do a tree, make it a real one. Scandinavians don’t ‘do’ fake trees. It’s better to have no tree than a fake tree. Did we mention candles? We did? Get some more. We over-do candles. Have you never seen the candle section in Ikea? Made for us and our candle obsession. If in doubt, buy some more.
Think less Wham, more ABBA. Michael Buble becomes an honorary Scandi at this time a year before we put him back in the cupboard on the 28th December. Use spotify and search ‘Scandinavian Christmas’ and you should be fine. Expect a few cringe additions. Blame Spotify.
Offer your guests ‘Glögg’ mulled wine. Glögg is not the same as British mulled wine. We will claim it is infinitely better (it is) – and this is because we use cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, dried Seville orange and cloves.
You can get the spices you need at our shop – or you can buy ready-made good stuff online. Swedes swear by all Glögg from Blossa. The red top is 10%, standard and works for all. The orange top is 15% and gives you a even redder nose. The see-through ‘Rum’ and ‘Cognac’ Blossas are 21% and you drink these in bigger glasses, in your arm chair front of the log fire. The purple bottle ‘14’ is the annual exciting new flavour – this year, it is Lavender (it’s nice, but nicer drunk a bit colder than normal Glögg).
To serve you glögg, heat it up so it is warm (not boiling, or the alcohol will evaporate) – and serve in little mugs of thick glasses. Add almonds and raisins.
If you are doing a Danish Gløgg party, you need to make or get your hand on some Æbleskiver. These are little doughballs, made from a pancake like batter. Serve warm with jam and icing sugar.
Biscuit wise, Danes favour ‘Brunkager’ (as do Norwegians) – and Pebernødder. Both are variations of ginger biscuits.
Swedes will expect you to serve Saffron buns. Delicious yellow wheat buns. We sell them at the café but you should have a go at making some at home – they are not hard to make and they taste amazing when just fresh out of the oven.
Want to make your own ginger biscuits? Get the dough and simply shape and bake. Easy peasy.
Want to fill up the fika table? Add other buns and biscuits. Swedes like to make ‘knäck’ toffee and the Danes love to make little marzipan and nougat petit fours. You can also make ‘Chockladbollar’ or ‘Romkugler’ no-bake treats. Find the recipe on our blog.
If you want to add a bit of a savoury element, maybe serve cheeses and crispbread. In particular, get hold of some really nice blue cheese and serve this with ginger biscuits: It’s a really, really nice combination.
Lastly, these events are usually in the afternoons, not evenings. After lunch, usually lasting a few hours, no more. Just so you can fit in 2-3 in the same day if you need to.
Every December, Swedes travels to our shop from afar to get hold of saffron powder so they can make Lucia buns. Saffron powder is ground saffron and gives off a very intense yellow colour and flavour. If you cannot get hold of saffron powder, use strands but grind them slightly and infuse them in the milk before using to maximise the colour.
Saffron buns are eaten all throughout December – but mainly for the day of St Lucia on 13th December.
You can shape the buns into the traditional ‘S’ shape or even make a saffron plaited loaf.
Our Bronte is Danish and likes to cut her saffron bun open and spread with butter. All Swedes laugh at her in disbelief. She doesn’t care because it’s really really nice. But if you chose to do it, don’t tell the Swedes or they may deport you to Lapland or something.
1g saffron powder (2 sachets) (if using strands, grind and soak in the milk beforehand)
400ml whole milk
130g caster sugar
200ml plain Quark or greek yoghurt (room temperature)
1 tsp salt
175g butter (soft and room temperature)
Approximately 700-800g plain bread flour such as – Vetemjöl or strong Canadian Bread Flour
Handful of raisins
Egg for brushing
Heat the milk to about 38°C. Add the yeast and milk to a mixer with a dough attachment. Mix until the yeast has dissolved, then add the saffron powder.
Add the sugar, salt, quark and mix well. Begin to add the flour gradually while mixing, and egg. Add the softened butter. Keep adding flour until you have the right consistency. Keep mixing until you have a dough that is still sticky, but doesn’t stick to your finger too much when you poke it. Too much flour makes the saffron buns dry out quickly. If you’re using an electric mixer, leave it to knead for about 5 minutes, or knead by hand for 10 minutes. Leave the dough to rise until doubled in size.
Knead by hand, using just enough flour that you’re able to work with the dough but it doesn’t stick. Add enough flour to make it so that you are just able to work with the dough in your hands. Cut the dough into around 24 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece in your hand into a cylinder, then transfer to a lined baking tray and mould into an ‘S’ shape (see the picture). Add a single raisin to the centre of where the ‘S’ shape curves (two raisins for each bun) and leave to rise again for around 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°c. then brush gently with egg and pop them in the hot oven for around 10-12 minutes. The buns should have a very slight tinge of brown on top, but not so much that it stops the nice yellow colour from showing. Turn down the heat a bit if you find the buns are getting too brown.
Leave to cool under a damp tea towel (this prevents them from going dry) as soon as you take them out of the oven.