I tried to come up with a clever title for this entry but nothing came to mind. I have been thinking about it since the second of January but nothing seemed right. So this entry will simply be entitled, Glug.
As far as I can tell in my research of Glug, also spelled Glogg, Glug is a drink of Scandinavian origin and is basically anything you want it to be. It is a mulled liquor that is made with any variety of alcohol's as its base. I found recipe's that used vodka, brandy, red wine, port and even rum. The one thing they all had in common were the spices of cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. some recipes called for oranges and some called for cherry's but those three spices were consistent in all recipe's.
I was first exposed to Glug when I was a child. My fathers side of the family is Swedish and during the holiday's a bottle of the amber colored stuff would always appear. My grandmother would always serve it in very decorative cordial glasses and all the family would sit around and have a toast to the holiday's and sip this wonderful drink. As I got older and was able to taste it for myself I instantly fell in love. When I found out that it wasn't something you could buy but something my family made I needed to know how to make it. My uncle Gregg was the one in the family with the recipe and made Glug for the whole family. I begged him to teach me but year after year he told me I was not responsible enough for the recipe. After many years of begging and five years in the Navy Gregg finally invited me over to show me the process.
According to Gregg the first step in making Glug was to sit down and enjoy some of last years batch. This I could do. After a few shots of a one year old bottle Gregg, brought out a few different batches he had made over the years. In our Glug the alcohol is 190 proof Everclear. Being from Minnesota that isn't always easy to find. The state has a proof limit and won't sell anything over 151 proof. One of the batches Gregg made a few years prior was made with 150 proof stuff and was very watery. The flavors were not as intense and it was generally bad. Gregg explained that the 190 proof stuff was the only stuff that produced the results we are looking for. Gregg also brought out a bottle that had been made 15 years ago that he had been keeping for a special occasion. When I sampled it the flavors were so much more intense and the color was a very dark mahogany. It was so dark that you could barely see through. It was fantastic, I learned that day that the longer the Glug sits the better it will be.
When we finally got to the making process I was astonished at how simple it was. One 750 ml bottle of 190 proof everclear mixed with one and half bottles of distilled water. (using the same 750 ml bottle) sugar, almonds, cardamom, clove, and cinnamon. Stir the water, everclear and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved and then add the spices. Cover and heat until just before a boil then take it of the heat throw a match in it let it explode then cool and bottle. In side each bottle put a few of the almonds and a couple of the cinnamon sticks and let sit for however long you can stand it. After making that first batch Gregg told me that I could never let anyone outside the family have the recipe and that I should only show one other person in the family when the time came.
I have been making Glug now for around 12 years, it is still just as fun to make as it always has been and just as delicious. For many years I followed Gregg's instructions of not teaching anyone how to make Glug and even used his excuse of not being responsible enough. In the summer of 2005 Gregg was involved in a car accident and has been living with a traumatic brain injury ever since. It was at that time I decided that the world shall not be denied Glug. I have a group of friends that have all enjoyed my Glug for many years and I was determined to show them all how to do it. Unfortunately it would have to wait. In the later part of the summer of 2005 my National Guard unit got called up to go to Iraq and the Glug would have to wait. When I returned home in the summer of 2007 I was on a mission to share the recipe with my family and friends.
Just before Christmas that year I arranged a party at a friends house and we spent the night making Glug. It has become a yearly tradition ever since and everybody does there part. Julie opens here house to all of us, Bryan drinks as many bottles of crown royal as he can, Sean cleans all the bottles, the other Shawn tries not to blow up the kitchen (which he did once already)and I enjoy what my uncle started. Bringing people together to celebrate nothing at all, just being together.
Photos by Julie Frana