I was in central Copenhagen a little less than a week ago, checking up on Christmas presents and whatnot. Crossing Rådhuspladsen, the City Hall Square, there was a booth I had seen elsewhere but had paid no further regards to. They were handing out free gløgg (variations of which you can find in glögg, glühwein, and mulled wine; basically it’s a warm alcoholic beverage with spices, nuts, and raisins).
But as I became aware of, the version that the girls in this booth were handing out was alcohol free. Instead of wine, they used black currant juice. They handed this out for free along with bags of mixed spices so you could make it at home. They did this as a part of a long running campaign against drunk driving; gløgg is traditionally an alcoholic beverage and really is part of the long list of dos (but the designated driver’s don’ts) around Christmas time in Denmark, often associated with æbleskiver (“apple slices”, a delicious constellation related to pancakes and waffles). Instead of julegløgg (Christmas gløgg), they called the non-alcoholic version HjuleGløgg (wheel gløgg, referring to driving).
I made this as warm welcoming drinks for my family’s julefrokost (literally: Christmas lunch, a tradition that takes place throughout the season). This version is very tasty – as someone pointed out, perhaps even tastier than the alcoholic version – and highly recommendable, no matter your reason to serve or drink it this way. Do try making this one at home!
The original recipe has been developed by Dansk Bartender Laug (the Danish bartenders’ union). The recipe can be found in Danish as a PDF-file by clicking this link; more info on the campaign, also in Danish, can be found by clicking this link. As per usual, my recipe differs slightly from the original.
HjuleGløgg (alcohol free gløgg)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cloves
5 star anises
1 tbsp cardamom seed
Peel of 1 organic orange (can be left out)
1 l of thinned black currant syrup (original recipe called for juice)
½ dl of maple syrup (can be replaced with ½ dl or 1-2 tbsp honey)
1 dl roughly chopped hazelnuts (almonds and other nuts and kernels can be used as well)
1 dl raisins
1 orange, diced (can be left out)
10 Amarena cherries in syrup (can be left out)
Warm up the thinned syrup, maple syrup, and spices (incl. the orange peel) thoroughly. Strain to remove spices and orange peel.
Divide the nuts, raisins, orange, and cherries between five glasses and pour the liquid over the garnish.
If smaller glasses are used, more glasses can be served – but do remember to adjust the number of cherries.
The spices can be left in the liquid to infuse for a while before serving.