Glugg? Gloog? Glerg? “Ö” is a difficult letter for me to pronounce, so when it comes to asking for this sweetly-spiced, Scandanavian mulled wine, I sometimes simplify my request to “I’ll have some of what’s simmering in that crockpot.” While spending the winter in Stockholm a few years ago, I regularly indulged in 3 pm glögg-fikas (glögg-themed coffee breaks), 5 pm jul-glöggs (glögg-themed Christmas parties?), after-work mugs-o’-glögg (i.e. happy hour)…and so on. It seemed that my Swedish friends were exceptionally good at coming up with reasons to drink glögg— reasons bound in traditions which were justified by statements like “Because. That’s just what we do.” Hard to argue with that when you can’t even pronounce an “ö” . And in the interest of keeping with tradition, you could always count on there being a plate of crispy, crunchy pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) at the table to nibble on as you sipped your beverage.  Let’s just say is was a gluttony of glögg. 

On those cold, dark nights (which started around 2 pm), where the objective was to mysa (get cozy, which could be considered a national sport in Sweden) and stay warm, nothing hit the spot like a mug of glögg. It’s pretty easy to make, and the bonus is that your house will smell amazing as you heat up all of those holiday spices. And you can premix all of the ingredients days ahead of time, store the mixture in the fridge, and simply warm it up when you’re ready to relax in Nordic fashion. But I must warn you… DO NOT forget to serve your glögg with spiced cookies. That’s how it’s done, okay? Don’t ask why. If you don’t have time to bake your own but you still want to do it proper, go with Anna’s spiced cookies. They’re perfekt.  

I found this beautiful glögg recipe, crafted by Morten Sohlberg of NYC’s Smörgas Chef Restaurants, on Edible Manhattan.  Skål!

Smörgas Chef’s Glögg
Makes 15 servings


4 c. water
1 c. brandy or spiced rum
Peel from 1 large orange, cut into large strips
2 T. whole cloves
2 t. vanilla extract
10 cardamom pods
1⁄2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and crushed slightly with the back of a spoon
1⁄2 t. freshly grated nutmeg
4 sticks cinnamon
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine
1 c. vodka
2⁄3 c. dark brown sugar
Garnish: sliced blanched almonds and raisins

Directions: Heat the water, brandy and spices to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add wine, vodka and sugar, and simmer for one minute. Strain out cloves and orange peel and decant the glögg, leaving other spices behind. Add raisins and almonds to each glass upon serving.


And this lovely recipe for pepparkakor comes from Jenna Weber of Eat, Live, Run via

Makes 4 dozen small cookies

1 stick butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 ½ tsp water
1 ½ heaping cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt

1. Cream together the butter and sugar then add the egg, vanilla, maple syrup and water and beat until combined.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves and salt. Add to wet ingredients to form a soft dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2-4 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
4. Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/8th thick and cut with star shaped cookie cutters.
5. Bake for 7 minutes. Pepperkakor should be a very thin, crispy and spicy cookie.

 Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

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