Many of us drink hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and hot tea (or…ahem…pumpkin spice lattes!) during autumn and winter. When I used to live in Houston, I would go to Holiday on 19th Street every December (watch for details here). Many of the little shops would stay open late, and we would have a great time Christmas shopping in the chilly weather, listening to music, and enjoying refreshments provided by some of the stores. I remember in particular tasting a delicious, hot orange drink called glögg (sans alcohol for this event) – something I’d never heard of before, so I tucked away the name of the drink for the future. This year, I want to revisit this delicious drink by sharing my recipes for glögg and a few other traditional cold weather drinks.
Mulled wine is an old tradition of heating up your wine with various spices (such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, & cardamom), fruit, and sugar. Adding spices & sugar or honey became a necessary way of preserving food and drinks before proper storage methods were invented. These additional flavors would also mask flavors of poor quality wines as well as delay food from spoiling. Countries around the world each have their own version of mulled wines with a variation of spices and fruits and a local name for their respective drinks.
1) Glögg is a traditional mulled wine from the Nordic countries. It is normally served with raisins, blanched almonds, and ginger snaps. You can replace the wine with berry juices for a non-alcoholic version.
2) Glühwein, literally translated to “glow wine,” is a German/Austrian mulled wine drink traditionally served at “Christkindlmarkt,” the German Christmas markets. It is spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, citrus, and sugar.
3) Negus is another mulled wine drink from the 18th century, found in some of the books of the Brontë sisters and Charles Dickens. It is commonly made with port, lemon, sugar, and nutmeg. This was considered a popular drink for children at parties or for adults who “do not take punch or grog after supper.” You can replace the wine with apple or cranberry juice to make it a more suitable children’s drink for today’s time.
Not only is there a glögg, but there is also a grog hot beverage (though, to be fair, they are pronounced differently and do not actually rhyme). Apart from the grog, you are probably more familiar with these hot beverages containing a variety of alcoholic spirits. These drinks are also more easily made non-alcoholic than mulled wine by simply leaving out the alcohol, making them great for family parties.
4) Grog was developed by Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon in the 18th century. There are varying accounts of why he added water & citrus juices to the rum at the time. He may have began watering down the rum to keep a more orderly ship, or he may have attempted to prevent scurvy in his sailors by adding citrus juices. Grog is basically hot water mixed with rum, brown sugar, and lime.
5) Eggnog is a traditional drink in North America enjoyed around Christmas time. It was originally made with rum but today, it is more commonly made with bourbon.
6) Hot toddies are one of my husband’s go-to drinks when he gets a cold. Similar to hot tea recipes, a hot toddy includes lemon and honey, both of which are great for sore throats. It is believed to have originated in Scotland in the 18th century.
- Orange Ginger Toddy
- Dirty Chai Toddy
- 3 Hot Toddy Recipes – including a non-alcoholic and the “perfect”
7) Hot buttered rum is a type of hot toddy that was a popular Colonial America drink. It dates back to the 1650s when the British West Indies began to trade molasses, a sugar cane byproduct, with colonial New England. This sparked a huge onset of rum distilleries in the late 17th century.
8) Wassail hails from Southern England where many counties produced cider. Wassailing was a traditional ceremony of singing and drinking cider on the Twelfth Night to encourage the apple trees to thrive and produce a good crop for the following autumn. Wassail is a mulled cider containing sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
Which warm drink is your favorite for this time of year? Please share your favorite hot beverages for fall and winter with us in the comments!
*Please enjoy your beverages responsibly, legally, and with a designated driver.