TasteFood

There's no point in waiting. It's officially the holiday season, and we all need a drink. Not just any drink, mind you, but a spiced and spirited elixir designed to warm you inside and out. I'm talking about glogg, the Danish term for what is also known as mulled wine or gluhwein. Now, there's more to just heating a bottle of vino that makes a good cup of glogg. After all, in Nordic countries where it grows dark in the winter afternoons and the weather is more often gray and wet than not, a cup of glogg is considered a necessity, right up there with mittens and a fire. Throughout the month of December, this libation is a Danish staple, served in cafes, doled out from street carts and ladled at social gatherings often accompanied by ginger cookies or aebleskivers. You can be sure that this concoction will be fortified with enough spirits to warm a Viking, and tasty enough to please a family gathering.

While glogg can be made from a pre-bottled mix, I encourage you to make it from scratch. This recipe avoids the cloying sweetness often found with mixes and is remarkably easy to prepare. You don't have to splurge on a nice bottle of wine for this recipe, but be sure it has heft. And don't let the wine come to a boil while it's heating -- lest you boil away all the alcohol and disappoint your fellow Vikings.

Glogg (Danish Mulled Wine)

Total Time: 30 minutes; standing time: at least 1 hour for the garnish

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

For the garnish:

1 cup raisins

1/3 cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau

For the glogg:

1 1/2 cups port wine

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau

1/3 cup light brown sugar

Zest of 2 untreated or organic oranges, shaved in strips with a vegetable peeler

10 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish

2 bottles full-bodied red wine

Fresh orange slices for garnish

Prepare the garnish:

Combine the raisins and Cointreau in a small bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour. (The raisins may be prepared up to 1 week in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use.)

Prepare the glogg:

Combine the port, orange juice, Cointreau, sugar, orange zest, cloves and the 2 cinnamon sticks in a heavy large pot with a lid. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid reduces by about one-third, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the red wine, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Heat the glogg without letting it come to a boil (this is important); keep warm.

When ready to serve, add a spoonful of raisins to a glass or mug. Strain the glogg into the glass. Garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon stick and serve with a teaspoon for scooping up the raisins.

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