“Traditionally we have Swedish food on Christmas Eve and toast each other with mugs of glögg, After doing the whole Swedish bit, we celebrate Christmas Day with a typical English dinner of turkey and plum pudding. We wind up tons heavier, not speaking to anyone.”
I know the feeling David!  It’s coming soon, the Christmas eat-athon.  Are you all ready?  Here’s something to get you in the mood.

David Niven’s Julglögg (Christmas wine)
  • Half bottle akvavit /aquavit (or vodka)
  • 1 bottle port
  • 1 bottle claret (or sherry)
  • 10 cardamom seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 pieces cinnamon stick (about 3 inches long)
  • 4 figs (or pears), optional
  • 2 bitter orange peels
  • 1 cup blanched shredded almonds
  • 1 cup seedless raisins
  • Half a cup of lump sugar
  • Cognac (or whisky) as desired

1. Use large decorative copper kettle. Pour in spirits, slowly bring to simmer. Place cardamom seeds, cloves, cinnamon and orange peel in a cheesecloth bag; throw into the “glögg”, simmer slowly about 10 minutes.

2. Add fruit, simmer 10 minutes longer; remove from heat. Discard spice bag.

3. Place lump sugar in a sieve over kettle. Moisten sugar, with cognac (or whisky); ignite sugar, holding match well away from the face. Ladle “glögg” over sugar lumps while sugar melts and drips down into the kettle to sweeten the drink.

4. Extinguish flame by covering kettle/saucepan. Serve hot in silver goblets (or ceramic mugs) with few raisins and almonds. If desired, skip the sugar cube process, and sweeten the glögg by adding sugar just before serving.

Glögg may be made several days in advance and cooled and stored in well-corked bottles. Reheat just before serving, but do not boil.

Do send me photos if you try David’s boozy tipple, it’s going to be the December recipe for The Great Bear Project and I cannot wait!

If you want to know more about how David and his Swedish wife Hjördis celebrated Christmas, do zip over to this wonderful blog post.

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