As a new year begins, many Washingtonians are still recovering from a holiday hangover. We make resolutions to diet following a season of rich foods. We give ourselves financial restrictions when our December credit card bills arrive, and we vow to cut back on drinking after indulging during too many holiday soirees.
But the lucky folks who attended the Museum of the American Cocktail’s (MOTAC) holiday seminar are looking forward to enjoying a stretch of delightful winter cocktails.
The event, held at PS7 in Chinatown, featured numerous cocktails guaranteed to warm up the long, cold season ahead. Guests were treated to potables mixed by PS7’s Gina Chersevani, Mr-Booze-com’s Jerry Lenoir and the MOTAC founding member Phil Greene.
Derek Brown, of the Columbia Room, which was named by GQ magazine as one of the 25 Best Cocktail Bars in America, started the party with his recipe for glogg, a Scandinavian mulled wine.
Mulled wine, popular in Europe, is made from usually red wine infused with spices and fruit flavors and served warm. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas.
Derek first tried glogg during a December visit to Demark where he was invited to a traditional Danish Christmas lunch. While a midday meal may sound harmless, Derek said these gatherings can turn into marathon drinking events, lasting over 10 hours. “They start out with glogg,” he says, “followed by Aquavit (a traditional Danish liqueur, flavored with caraway), Tuborg beer, then back to Aquavit and so on.”
Impressed with the flavorful mulled wine he was served, Derek asked for the recipe from the 96-year-old lady who made the glogg. She declined his request, telling him it was a family secret. But after about seven shots of Aquavit, Derek said she was willing to share the classified information. He extracted the recipe from her with the help of an interpreter.
While Derek’s recipe is simple to prepare, it does take time. After completing all the steps he recommends storing the mixture in the refrigerator overnight, before reheating it the next day. The flavors will continue to infuse and it will give the glogg a fuller flavor.
In addition to wine and spices, Derek adds aquavit to his glogg to give it a rich spicy flavor. If you prefer, you may also add plain vodka for a less herbaceous version or omit the additional liquor for a drink with a lower alcoholic content.
One immediate difference I notice in Derek’s Danish glogg, compared to other mulled wines I’ve tried, is the inclusion of raisins and almonds in the bottom of the glass. These gems provided a delectable finish.
“Have a beautiful, warm mulled wine with raisins and almonds that have been soaked in alcohol,” Derek says. “ If you aren’t warm after you have your first glass, you will be by the time you eat the raisins and almonds.”
1 1/2 bottles of full-bodied red wine (Derek used a nice, inexpensive Tempranillo)
1 cup Aquavit
1 tsp. crushed cardamom seeds
2 tsp. cloves
½ tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
4 cinnamon sticks
1 cup almonds – blanched
1 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup brown sugar
Bring wine to boil. Tie spices and zest in to a cheesecloth bag. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add in almonds, sugar and raisins; cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add in Aquavit. Stir and remove spices. Serve hot.
Ingredients to make glogg may be purchased at Dixie Liquor, located at 3429 M Street in Georgetown. For more information about upcoming events visit: MuseumOfTheAmericanCocktail.org or Better-Drinking.com