Glögg instead of nog

illustration by MARK STIVERs

Before drinking nasty eggnog again this winter, try out glögg, a popular winter drink in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. I first tasted the hot wine-based drink when my Swedish cousin-in-law brought some on a family ski trip. Here’s his recipe: Break five cinnamon sticks into small pieces, crush a tablespoon of cardamom, and stir these two together with a piece of crystallized ginger, 20 cloves, and a teaspoon of bitter orange zest. Stick them in a jar and pour in just a bit less than half a cup of eau de vie, cognac or another brandy. Let that soak for a day or two, and then remove the solids from the mixture. Pour the spiced brandy into a pot, add a 750-milliliter bottle of red wine, 13-and-two-thirds tablespoons of sugar, and three-quarters of a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Heat the drink up to 172 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve hot and add blanched almonds and raisins to each cup.