Glogg, or mulled wine, is a popular drink during the Christmas season in Sweden. Lisbeth is invited to holiday glogg celebrations — although she rarely attends — and at the end of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” we find Blomkvist sipping glogg at Millenium’s annual Christmas party.
The women of Morsels for the Mind in Grand Rapids, Michigan, research the book selection before meetings, and tie refreshments in to the book’s theme. Hostess Nancy Dausman served glogg for the group’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” meeting. According to Laura Lewakowski, the warm drink helped set the “cultural atmosphere,” introduced members to a new, exotic beverage, and “really hit the spot on a wintry night” when their meeting took place.
There are many versions of glogg, some made with sweet wines, and some that incorporate stronger liquors such as brandy, vodka, or Blomkvist’s favorite, aquavit. This recipe, made with Madeira and brown sugar, along with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, is particularly sweet and warming — a perfect antidote to the ice-cold Swedish winters described in the book, and the cold-blooded machinations of its characters.
• 1 750-milliliter bottle red wine (see note)
• 1 cup Madeira wine
• 6 tablespoons brown sugar
• 3 1-inch pieces orange peel
• 3-inch stick cinnamon, plus 8 (6-inch) cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)
• 6 whole cloves
• 3 whole cardamom pods, cracked
1. Put all of the ingredients in a medium stainless-steel saucepan. Warm gently over medium- low heat until steaming, but do not boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, continuing to watch closely so liquid does not boil.
2. Serve immediately. Or, for best flavor, cover pot and refrigerate 12-24 hours to let spices steep. Reheat gently.
3. To serve: Strain liquid into tempered glass mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired.
Choose a medium-bodied burgundy or blend that is not too fruity and not too dry. It’s not necessary to buy an expensive wine because the spices will infuse it with flavor.