Winter Warmers

12th December

Winter warmer
Brrrrrr, yesterday was cold and foggy and the dampness seeped under my skin.  Being too mean to crank on the heating and too lazy to light the fire (unlike me, as I love to watch the flames on an open fire) I shivered all day and all evening.  Silly and totally unnecessary, but it did make my mind
wander to ways in keeping warm, and what better way than Norwegian gløgg; mulled wine to the Brits.  Now, this is no ordinary mulled wine, the Scandinavians like their hot drink to be sweet and full of Christmas spices, with whole blanched almonds and raisins to be found within the drink.  Gløgg is often served in coffee cups accompanied by a teaspoon to allow you to eat the alcohol soaked fruit and nuts, delicious.

Many Norwegians buy their gløgg mixture premade, as it is a time saver in these busy and hectic days, but others like to keep to tradition and use age old family recipes.  I must admit to being the former, but also to being a premade gløgg mixture snob, for me, there is only one brand that cuts the mustard and that is Tomte gløgg.  Of course it is impossible to buy it here in the UK and I often have to ask mamma to bring it with her, or if I am in Norway close to Christmas when it is for sale, always bring the largest bottle back with me.  But one of the many reasons I began this blog was to force my hand in trying new things as well and share my journey.  So I have delved in my Scandi books and looked up gløgg recipes to have a try.  Unlike the Brits, the Norwegians like to add either vodka, brandy, aquavit or a combination of the three.  Aquavit is a potato based Scandinavian spirit, often chased with a beer for good measure,  to their mulled wine.  This of course is not essential and makes for a potent drink, but also certainly adds to the warming effect.  When better to do that than on a dark and cold foggy December night?  In Norway there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving, so it is not a question of,  I will just have one and be OK, but you either drink and therefore do not drive or you drive and do not even have a sip.  Norwegians entertain mainly in the home, alcohol is prohibitively expensive to buy and can only be done so from government run off licences know as 'vinmonopol', which have very strict and not very long opening hours.  It is no wonder that brenvin (direct translation is burning wine otherwise known as moonshine) used to be rife in Norway!

Gløgg is very sweet and not a drink that one would want too many cups of, but enough to throw off the chill and warm the insides, so maybe 2 or 3 cups should do it?!!?

The Norwegians also produce Jule øl  (Christmas beer) and Jule brus (Christmas fizzy drink,) which prove to be very popular and fly off the shelves.  Christmas beer tends to be dark and stronger than the normal 'pils' that the Norwegians drink and can be bought in a supermarket, unlike wine and spirit.  It has now become big business and this year alone, there are over 60 different Jule øl to be found!  The Christmas 'brus', (my sister loves it,) comes as an orange or red variety,
a special drink for a special time of year.

1 cup of Aquavit, brandy or vodka
2 cups Red wine
2 cups Port wine
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 cup White sugar, plus extra according to  taste
2 Cinnamon sticks
4 Cloves
6 Cardamom seeds (whole)
One orange
One piece of ginger
Blanched almonds
Soak 1/2 cup of raisins in one cup of aquavit, brandy or vodka. Soak for 30 minutes.
Put a large pot on the stove, over high heat. Add one cup of water and 1/2 cup sugar to the pot, and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Lower the heat to medium and add your spices - two sticks of cinnamon (each broken in half); four whole cloves; six whole cardamom seeds, crushed by hand; a thinly shaved orange peel; and one small piece of ginger, peeled and cut in half. Stir again with wooden spoon. Do not allow the mix to come to a boil from this point on.
Add the aquavit-raisin mixture, two cups of red wine and two cups of port wine.
Sweeten and spice to taste.
Strain, garnish with raisins and chopped blanched almond — and serve hot off the stove.
The drink can be made a day ahead and kept covered, on the stove, at room temperature. Just reheat before serving.
I enjoyed this gløgg, although to me it was not Tomte gløgg, but would happily drink a few of these cups.  And I still prefer it to English mulled wine which I find to be a bit too bitter.



It is not just drink that can keep us warm on days such as these but clothing too.  A tenuous link to my last item in today's posting:  mittens but not as we know them Jim!  These mittens caught my eye and I could not resist but sit down straight away and give them a go.  After making the first one, I posted a photo on line with my craft group to ask for their opinion and the consensus was that these were fun.  I have an idea to have them for our informal dinner on Boxing day, but as with everything, I should not have begun them as I have so much else that needs to be finished first and other essential things that need to be accomplished, not making unnecessary cutlery mittens.  Where are my priorities...oops, seem to have now made a second one...

Mary Jane Protus' pattern for the cutlery mittens can be found here:    These mittens are quick, but it is best that you have some crocheting experience, although not difficult, just a bit fiddly.  Each mitten, including snowflake took about an hour.

Enjoy the gløgg season!



  1. Love this one :-) I'm sure the mittens will be well worth it!!!!! And I remember aquavit! Came in little green bottles for after dinner and made your head spin and your eyes pop out!

    1. Hahaha Adele! But think the alcohol of Norway has slightly frazzeled your memory, you did indeed have Aquavit, but the bottles you describe are called Underberg! and yes! they do make your eyes pop! Hahahaha x

  2. I think lots of people find English mulled wine too bitter. Reminds me of when I was chair of the PTA at St Johns and used to make "mulled wine" for the Nativity evening performances. Lots of people asked for the "recipe" and commented on how they didn't normally like mulled wine but...the secret? Very little wine, lots of orange juice and sugar, and plenty of spices!

    1. Now you see, I have learnt something, thought it was because I had grown up with Norwegian spiced drinks that I was the only one who found it too bitter!

  3. Wow, I feel slightly drunk just reading the recipe! Yum yum.
    And the cutlery mittens are definitely a good idea - really fun and different. You're doing so many beautiful festive things for your house - you'll have to post pics of the overall finished effect at some point.

    1. I am trying to photgraph it all together but it just does not seem to work in the picture and looks 'naff'. will keep trying. Have a go at the mulled wine! As someone else asked me recently, you can buy a pretty good pre made version at that very big blue and yellow Swedish store, shhhhh! You just need to add your own alcohol. Although not as good as Norwegian tomte gløgg!

  4. Love the mittens. Have printed out the pattern and will have a go at making some this evening

  5. Thought you might like them, very addicitve mamma ♥

  6. I remember a Norwegian post-grad student introducing me (and the rest of our boozy Archaeology department) to Glogg, made properly with almonds and raisins. I was really sceptical at first, being an avowed mulled wine drinker, but a couple of mugs later I was a convert! I still put a bit of brandy in my mulled wine - and no, I don't like it bitter either! :-)

    1. Glad you came round Ellie, and interesting that you too find the British version too bitter! Thanks for popping over, hope to see you again soon x

  7. Thanks Selma - just had a couple of families over and I made proper Glogg for the first time! I left out the almonds because I'd forgotten to get them, but used brandy. Extremely nice!


    1. So glad! Pleased you enjoyed it too, might it become a tradition now?


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