Scandinavian mulled wine, or gløgg, filled with warming spices such as allspice, cloves, ginger and of course cinnamon. Make this mulled wine recipe with red wine, or without for a delicious non-alcoholic drink. Enjoy on a cold Christmas evening when the snow is falling outside.
Christmas. The time of the year when drinks get spiked with spices, time (should) slows down to just embrace the simple pleasure of being together. It is time for family, for comforting cookies and eggnog, and it’s time for mulled wine.
Mulled wine is huge in Norway and Sweden during the Christmas Holidays. They serve it at every Christmas market and the stores fill up with the ready-made bottles. They are fine, but it will be even more festive to make your own.
What is Mulled Wine? Is it the same as Glühwein and Gløgg?
Mulled Wine is a beloved warming drink that’s popular in a lot of different cultures and countries, especially in Europe. Mulled Wine is called exactly that because it is a drink consisting of wine and mulling spices. Mulling spices are warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, allspice and ginger. The recipe you’ll see here will be a classic Scandinavian Gløgg, or glögg, glogg or any variety of that word.
Mulled Wine is usually warm red wine with a lot of mulling spices like cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Mulled wine isn’t as sweet as gløgg but they are still pretty similar. It is like the Winter sister of a sangria, although not diluted with juices. Mulled wine is popular in the UK.
Glühwein, means glowing wine, because of the heated up wine. Glühwein is also warm wine with a lot of mulling spices, oranges and sometimes vanilla pods. There really doesn’t seem to be a lot of differences between mulled wine and glühwein, other than the name and where it would be consumed. Glühwein is popular in German-speaking countries.
Gløgg, in Norway and Denmark, glögg in Sweden and glögi in Finland and Estonia. Nordic or Scandinavian Mulled Wine is warm red wine with mulling spices, but our gløgg is sweeter as we make more of a warm sangria out of it. We dilute the red wine with apple juice (or other juices), and often blackcurrant cordial. In Norway it’s a very popular drink and it’s often consumed non-alcoholic with crushed nuts and raisins.
As a bottomline I would say mulled wine, glühwein and gløgg are triplets. If you like one, you will definitely like the other. They are all warm red wine with mulling spices.
What Wine is Best for Mulled Wine?
I would definitely not splurge on an expensive bottle of wine. Any cheap, dry red wine will work really well in this recipe. There are also a lot of mulled wine recipes using white wine, but I don’t think Nordic Gløgg works with that. I would much rather add a cheap dry white wine into my delicious mulled apple cider (apple gløgg).
Great wines for mulled wine:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pinot Noir
- Sangiovese, and
- Cabernet Franc.
Remember that cooking wine isn’t good for anything, if it’s good to drink it’s good to cook with and definitely to make mulled wine out of as well. But still go for the cheaper ones. Here’s a list of 20 of the best dry red wines under $20.
How to Make this Mulled Wine Recipe Non-Alcoholic
This recipe is designed to work for non-alcoholic gløgg. Simply follow the recipe and omit the red wine. Easy peasy! It keeps really well too because of the sweet blackcurrant syrup.
Blackcurrant syrup isn’t necessarily readily available everywhere. When I was researching ingredients in English, I also found that I am not happy with the translation of the Norwegian word ‘saft‘, I think some use the word squash (drink), some use concentrate and some use cordial. Here’s my recipe for homemade cordial, but store bought is completely fine. Use blackcurrants for best flavor for this gløgg, but raspberry is also good. You can also just use raspberry or blackcurrant juice.
Make Your Own Berry Syrup
So you don’t find squash/cordial/saft, but still want to try this recipe. Make your own berry syrup! This is especially important if you want to make this mulled wine recipe non-alcoholic. It will bring that bright red color and fresh sweet flavor from the berries.
Simply add any kind of dark or red berry, like red currant, blackcurrant, blackberries or raspberries to a saucepan. A combination of these is also fine.
Combine the berries with about equal amount of sugar (by weight). Stir with a wooden spoon to break up the berries. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. Sometimes we need to add a splash of water to help get the boiling process starting.
I realize berries are more of a Summer thing, and mulled wine is a Winter thing. But in Norway we usually make blackcurrant cordial in the Summer, which keeps for an approximate eternity, and this is a way to get your berries in during the dark Winter months too.
However, I’ve also used store bought blackcurrant syrup/cordial for this recipe. Hope all this helps! Scroll down to find the printable mulled wine recipe.
Did you like this recipe? Gløgg is perfectly paired with
- Norwegian Gingerbread Cookies
- Norwegian Christmas Men Cookies
- Fluffy Saffron Buns
- Apple Cider Donuts
- Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Soft and Chewy Eggnog Cookies
- Crispy Fluffy Donuts
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This recipe was originally published on Dec 6 2017, but updated on Jan 2 2020 for better photos and content.
Mulled Wine Recipe (Nordic Gløgg + Non-Alcoholic Version)
- 4 cups apple juice 1 liter. *
- 1 3/4 cups blackcurrant cordial 400ml. (Norwegian: ublandet solbærsaft) **
- 3 1/2 cups water 800ml.
- 1 orange slices of half and juice of the other half
- 1 lemon slices of half and juice of the other half
- 10 black peppercorns
- 6 allspice berries
- 6 cloves
- 4 slices ginger About 1-2 tbsp
- 2 cinnamon sticks + more for garnish
- 1 star anise optional, + more for garnish
- 1 tbsp brown sugar optional
- 1 bottle dry red wine optional. 750ml ***
- Add to saucepan: In a medium large saucepan, add all the ingredients except the red wine. You can add it at this point if everyone want alcohol. But remember that you only want the wine to heat up, not boil.
- Let it steep: Whenever you see steam starting to evolve, just remove from the heat and let it steep for around 20-30 minutes. Longer is also fine. But before steeping, I like to remove the orange and lemon slices to avoid getting too bitter gløgg.
- Serve: You may want to reheat it just a little when it is done steeping. That's also when you'll heat your red wine if you're separating the two. Strain the mulled wine into glasses, along with red wine or not. Garnish each glass with an orange or clementine slice, cinnamon stick and star anise. But remember that the garnishes may give it an even stronger flavor.