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It's Holiday Cocktail Week here at Red & Brown HQ, where we're bringing you Christmas classics along with a few new variations to keep you in high spirits. Pour a couple out for you and yours, and get to wassailing.

Swedes: shoddy furniture makers, great drinkers. Champions one might even say, especially when drinking to ward off the cold which, as I can attest to after spending a winter there, is a solid 8 months of the year. Apparently living in a climate like that makes you particularly good at mixing a lot of stuff together, heating it up and making it taste great (just Google "Swedish kebab plate"). Glögg is no exception. While recipes differ across Scandinavia mine is a fairly standard variation involving a drier red wine, port, raisins and some warming spices. It takes a little over an hour to do it right, so glögg is best made in large batches on a lazy, snowy afternoon and paired with either board games and/or copious amounts of Christmas cookies. --Brown

Swedish Glögg Makes 4-6 servings

  • 750 ml bottle red wine (we used a pinot noir but honestly you can use almost anything that isn't overly sweet)
  • 2 Cups port
  • 1-2 shots vodka (just a little something extra to keep the chill off)
  • 1/2 Cup raisins
  • 1 large cinnamon stick (I sometimes add up to 3 depending on what we're eating or how cold it is)
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed allspice
  • 1 teaspoon crushed cardamom
  • Peel of 1 orange
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar

With a vegetable peeler, remove the skin of an entire orange. Be careful to avoid taking too much of the pith (the white part) because it will make your concoction unnecessarily bitter.

Crush your allspice and cardamom with a mortar and pestle or give them a quick pulse in your spice grinder. If all else fails, smash them in a sandwich bag with a meat tenderizer.

Add all of your spices, the sugar, orange peel, and raisins to a large pot (we like using a 3.5 quart Dutch oven). Pour in the liquids and place them over a low heat, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop. I typically let it go low and slow for an hour or more, but cover it if you're cooking longer to reduce evaporation.

Strain before serving so no one gets a clove stuck in their teeth. Set aside the raisins if you like for a nice little wine-soaked snack later, or to mix into a salad or other dish.

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