2 x 750ml bottles of dry red wine (Pinot Noir, Sangiovise)
1 x 350ml bottle of brandy
5 inches of stick cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon cardamom seeds
12 whole cloves
Peel of one orange
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 cup sugar
Garnish with the peel of another orange
Makes about 1.75 litres
There is no need to invest in expensive wine or brandy because the spices are going to preempt any innate complexity of a fine wine, but don't use anything too cheap.
Use a stainless steel (or porcelain) pot, as aluminum and copper pots will interact chemically with the wine and brandy and impart a metallic taste.
Cardamom comes in three forms: pods, seeds, and powder. Do not use powder.
Keep the wine bottles and corks to store / age the mulled wine.
You can easily tailor the recipe to your own tastes by changing the sweetness, potency, or other ingredients. Try brown sugar if you wish.
Pour the red wine into a covered stainless steel or porcelain pot. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange peel, raisins, and almonds. Warm gently, but do not boil. Boiling will burn off the alcohol.
Put the sugar in a pan and soak it with 150ml of the brandy. Warm the sugar and brandy slurry over a low flame. The sugar will melt and bubble until it becomes a clear golden syrup of caramelised sugar. If you wish, you can speed up the process a bit and create quite a show by flaming the brandy. Flaming will create a 2 foot high blue flame, so be sure there is nothing above the stove that can catch on fire. Then, stand back and light the brandy. Turn out the kitchen lights and watch it burn! This caramelisation is crucial to developing complexity.
Add the caramelised sugar to the spiced wine mix. Cover and let it mull for an hour. The pot should hold enough heat to keep the wine warm, gently heat again if it cools too much. Just before serving, strain to remove the spices, and add the remaining brandy to taste. You can serve it immediately, or let it age for a month or two. If you are going to age it, make sure the bottle is filled as high as possible and sealed tight.
To serve glögg, warm it gently over a low flame or in a stainless steel or porcelain pot, and serve it in a mug. Garnish it with a fresh orange peel, twisted over the mug to release the oils. This orange peel garnish is essential to the fragrance.