From the beginning of December on through the New Year, glögg is served in Swedish homes on every festive occasion or when visitors drop by. A plate of St. Lucia buns is typically offered with the hot spiced wine. Many families also like to serve glögg after the evening meal, when everyone is sitting around the fire.
Servings: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
1 tsp cardamom pods
1 small piece ginger, peeled
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
6 whole cloves
1/2 cup vodka
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine
1 cup ruby port or Madeira
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
1/2 cup dark raisins
1. Crush the cinnamon and cardamom using a mortar and pestle (or put them on a cutting board and crush them with the bottom of a heavy pot.) Put them in a small glass jar and add the ginger, orange zest, cloves, and vodka. Let stand for 24 hours.
2. Strain the vodka through a fine sieve into a large saucepan; discard the spices. Add the red wine, port or Madeira, sugar, vanilla sugar, almonds, and raisins, and heat over medium heat just until bubbles start to form around the edges.
3. Serve the glögg hot in mugs, with a few almonds and raisins in each one. Keep any remaining glögg warm over very low heat until ready to serve (do not let boil.)