Still time for glogg

The season is changing, but there’s still plenty of winter left. Which means still plenty of excuses to have a warming cup of glogg.

Most northern European countries have some form of drink that is made from hot wine. In Germany it’s Gluhwein (a lovely name which means “glow wine”), in France it’s vin chaud, in England it’s mulled wine, in Holland it’s Bischopswijn… you get the idea.

In Canada, we have our own version: Caribou is hot red wine mixed with hard spirits and maple syrup, often with seasonings added.

Almost everybody mulls the wine, which just means heating it with whole spices. What sets glogg apart is the addition of the fruit and nuts – raisins and almonds most commonly. Glogg is sometimes served with a spoon, so that you can enjoy a boozy mouthful of fruit and nuts after you finish the drink.

Glogg also features some distilled spirits to give it a little extra punch. The traditional spirit is aquavit, which is itself seasoned with spices (typically caraway, but it can vary by brand and region). The original version of this recipe, from Mattias Bourman via The Spruce Eats, says bourbon or vodka are optional choices.

We find that without the liquor, glogg feels a little thin. We’ve opted for bourbon in this recipe, which brings a nice earthy note to the drink – vodka tends to just vanish amid all the other flavours. If you can get your hands on some aquavit, though, by all means give it a try. Or perhaps use some rye whisky (traditional in Quebecois Caribou) or even dark rum.

We’ve also upped the amount of fruit and nuts from the original recipe, but that’s entirely up to you.

You can also try using maple syrup as a sweetener, instead of sugar. There’s even a party-sized version from Judy at AllRecipes that doesn’t have any red wine at all – it uses port (five bottles), and a bottle each of bourbon and white rum.

No matter what spirits you use, heat it gently. And don’t even think about using powdered spices!

Just heat, serve, and enjoy the end of winter. Skol!


1 bottle red wine

1 1/2 cups bourbon

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons orange zest

4 tablespoons raisins

1 tablespoon cardamom pods

2 tablespoons ginger (fresh root; sliced)

1 stick cinnamon

8 cloves

4 tablespoons almonds (blanched and slivered)


Combine all ingredients in a 2- to 3-quart pot. Heat to 175 F (77 C) and let simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let stand and steep for 1 hour.

Remove the spices and gently reheat the glogg.

Ladle into mugs. Garnish with a slice of orange, if desired.

Serve and enjoy!

Posted in Thoughts on Food.