Glögi – Spiced Drink for December

Glögi is the Finnish equivalent of mulled wine, and before Christmas its readymade incarnations start to appear in the stores – some with alcohol, but most without. I find them usually way too sugary, and that’s why I always thought that I just don’t care for the drink that much. It wasn’t until this weekend that I tried making my own and realized how delicious glögi can be. My mind is now buzzing with possible additions, which means glögi will be abundant around our little home this December!


Finnish glögi rarely has citrus peel as a flavor component like its Central European cousins, but cinnamon, cardamom and cloves are essential. I added a few spices that aren’t all that traditional – dried mint, pink peppercorns, and star aniseed – just because I personally love them, and they did add a certain freshness to the flavor. I also cut down on the amount of cloves, since often there’s a whole tablespoonful of them in a similar recipe, and I think their taste can get wildly overpowering. I would use the recipe below as a starting point and tweak it to your own tastes.

The kind of juice that is used as a base also has an important role – we use a red currant juice concentrate that Heikki’s mother has made from her own berries, and it lends quite an authentic color and flavor to the drink. Grape juice or even lingonberry or cranberry would surely be worth trying out. This spice infusion would probably be lovely added to some warmed up apple juice, or black currant juice for the sneezy days, and I can see it spicing up my cup of tea even. Finns often add some almonds and raisins in their glögi mug, but I prefer mine without.

This is what I used:

  • 5 slices of fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (or 1 stick)
  • 2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 star aniseed
  • a pinch of allspice
  • 3 dl water

I placed all the above in a small cooking pot, brought to a brisk boil, and lowered the heat so that the mixture was barely bubbling. Now I covered the pan and let the spice mixture simmer for half an hour, and then sieved it through a cheese cloth into a small jug.

To make a cup of glögi, I use about 3 tablespoons of the spice infusion, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of red currant juice Heikki’s mom has made, and 1 and 1/2 dl of hot water. It all depends on how sugary the juice is. This recipe yields about 2 dl of the spicy mixture, which I would say is enough for about five glögi portions. I store what’s left over in a small bottle in the fridge. An alcoholic version could be made with half red wine and half fruit juice, or by adding a little bit of vodka (or another spirit of choice) in the glögi mug.


  1. Posted December 7, 2009 at 22:14 | Permalink

    This looks really good. I’ve never had mulled wine although this year I’ve seen more mention of it. Thanks for the lesson on the finnish version.

  2. Posted December 7, 2009 at 22:59 | Permalink

    So cute! I love the anise in the middle!

  3. Posted December 8, 2009 at 02:04 | Permalink

    Mmm your version sounds delicious!

  4. Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:02 | Permalink

    Yum! I’ve been experimenting with several glögi variations this year but the combination of mint and pink peppercorn is something that hasn’t come to mind. Too bad I don’t know anyone who makes red currant juice – sounds like a good combination.

  5. Posted December 14, 2009 at 21:33 | Permalink

    That sounds very warm and delicious! I’ll sure try this for Christmas, I was planning of making my own mulled juice and now I can try yours!

  6. Posted December 17, 2009 at 20:50 | Permalink

    That looks incredible! The star aniseed is a wonderful touch. My family usually has the Glühwein but I’m not a big fan, I think I’d much rather have some of your recipe :)

  7. Posted January 22, 2010 at 18:53 | Permalink

    Glad you liked the photos from the Buddhist restaurant. It was very good.

    What kind of cultural restaurants can be found in Finland? I always wondered if Döner restaurants were popular like they are in Germany although I’m guessing they are not.

  8. Heikki
    Posted January 24, 2010 at 19:21 | Permalink

    Actually, Finland has loads of döner kebab places, they are very popular here too. From a vegan point of view, the positive thing is that most of them have falafel on the menu too.

    But pizzerias are the most common type of restaurant here.

    Then there’s loads of Thai and Chinese places, like everywhere else.

    But vegetarianism, let alone veganism, is so marginal a phenomenon here that there are only a couple of vegetarian restaurants in all of Finland.

  9. maria yorgakopoulou
    Posted January 28, 2010 at 22:40 | Permalink

    Hope you are having a good winter. i have been in Greece since July, on research, then with my husband ill. I am living in his village, south of Ancient Sparta, where foraging is common even in winter. They now now about your blog, and your foraging. they are impressed, since the fear is that all this will be lost. A blessed New Year.

  10. Posted February 1, 2010 at 17:26 | Permalink

    mmmmmmmm… I can smell it already.
    Ps: have you noticed I copied your blog banner on top? I think yours is brilliant, hope you don’t mind. eh?

  11. Anni
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 09:58 | Permalink

    Jenni – thanks for the compliment, and we definitely don’t mind! Your banner is very pretty, and I like how the idea behind it is the same, but it captures the athmosphere of your kitchen through the objects you’ve chosen.

  12. Posted February 8, 2010 at 15:55 | Permalink

    that’s nice anni, thank you. I have replied to you in my castagnaccio post (the chestnut thing), there is an offer for you, please read it and let me know!

  13. Posted February 10, 2010 at 21:09 | Permalink

    I recently discovered the Swedish Glögg and loved it. This Finnish version and your addition of mint leaves and star anise sounds great too. Thanks.

  14. Maria
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 17:50 | Permalink

    This comment comes quite late, but I did make this for Christmas Eve, and then a few more times (by popular demand) over the holidays. I ended up using cranberry juice for the base, and since it wasn’t concentrated, just using it for all the liquid.

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