Step 10: Start "Erin’s Professor Sylte Gløgg"

Gløgg is a Norwegian mulled wine. We make a gigantic 5 gallon cauldron of it, and we invite people to bring cheap red wine to dump into the cauldron. No, really–cheap. Two Buck Chuck is too good. You want the box of Franzia or Almaden. This is your opportunity to get rid of the weird odds and ends that you have acquired in the red wine corner of your closet that you’re afraid to drink.

What makes it good, despite the dreadful plonk that is its base, is that you start by whacking up a whole fresh pineapple, zesting and juicing 2 oranges, and dumping this into a huge pot with several cups of mixed raisins and slivered or food-processored almonds. Also grate 2-4″ inches of fresh ginger, crush 20 whole cardamom pods, 12 whole cloves, 4 cinnamon sticks. For raisins this year, we’re using probably 3C of dead old white raisins and 3C more of basic raisins, another C or two of craisins (dried cranberries), and whatever other crap you might feel like adding. Cover with cheap red wine (the classic recipe calls for burgundy), bring to a boil, cover, turn off heat, and let sit around until the day of the party.

On the day of the party, you’ll dump in slugs of the following along with a lot more wine into the largest pot you have–we use a 5 gallon Revereware brewpot. It’s a bit of a juggling act, really; you want to kind of pace yourself on the extra ingredients to make them come out even with the wine that gets added. We usually get the pot up to about the 2/3 full point with our own wine and the following, and then we add the wine that arrives with guests and selected additional slugs of the following as we go. Ultimately it all adds up to about: 10 liters or more of red wine, 1-1/2 C akevit, 1-1/2 C sugar, 2 bottles of port, 2 bottles of sweet vermouth. All of these should be the cheapest plonk you can find.

This recipe is named for three people: the legendary but anonymous “professor” of classic Norse gløgg recipes, Ruth Sylte who gave me a version of it/, and I, who multiplied it a bazillion times to soak 50+ guests.

Bring to the meekest of boils, then turn down the flame to the lowest possible setting to keep the gløgg warm but not burn off the alcohol. Put your entire mug collection out on the counter and invite your guests to choose a mug that they will remember is theirs. Provide a ladle and encourage people to get some chunky bits, too. Gløgg is first a drink and then a marinated-fruity-almondy snack.