Food & Drink
Bring On The Glögg This ChristmasNovember 29, 2018
The first rule of glögg is that you can’t call it “mulled wine.”
While you could say glögg (which is pronounced “glug”) resembles it, the history goes back thousands of years, and the process is long and particular. Mike Sjöblom of Sjoeblom Winery should know. The Swedish winery owner, whom we previously featured, makes the holiday beverage and even has a club dedicated to it.
Glögg is something Sjöblom’s not only passionate about, but he’s also spent the entire year prepping and producing, and he’s very excited to what he calls real Swedish glögg. According to Sjöblom, his winery is the only one in the States that he knows of that is creating the kind of glögg that is sold in Scandinavia.
The IT entrepreneur-turned-vintner gave us his take on glögg, the great lengths he went into perfecting it and more.
So, get cozy, sip on some glögg and enjoy.
You’re passionate not only about making wine, but also more specifically glögg. For those who don’t know, can you explain what it is and why it’s so important to Scandinavians, especially at Christmas?
Glögg is a tradition that goes back 3,000 years, to the old Greeks. “The Iliad” mentions soldiers enjoying spiced wine with goat cheese. Another precursor to glögg was “hypocras,” which was considered a health drink, or medicine. In writings from the antiquity, there is mention of healing spices and herbs added to heated wine, too.
Why was it so important for you to bring “real” glögg here to the States?
I kept hearing that people were looking for a good glögg but couldn’t find one. People love the glögg I do and therefore this year, I took charge of the situation and decided to make sure to offer a TRUE Swedish glögg to the 4 million Swedes with U.S. residency in this country.
What makes Sjoeblom Winery’s glögg stand out from the rest? We see a lot mulled wine and glögg options on the market.
I looked up the people that are behind all major brands in Sweden, and it turns out that they have been making their glögg for over 80 years. I asked if they would cooperate with me and make a premium glögg for the U.S. market with a quality wine from California, and they were thrilled, so I flew over to Sweden with my base wine, a 2016 vintage Syrah. After a week, we created an authentic Swedish glögg with all the spices that are needed. Some of spices aren’t even available here in the U.S., so I import the spice mix in big vats to California and blend the glögg at the winery. The result is heavenly. I keep hearing people saying, “This is the best glögg I ever tasted!”
On Sjoblom’s glögg site, he elaborates that glögg’s “taste and aroma [is how] we connect with Christmas in Scandinavia,” as notes of cinnamon, ginger, dried fruits and a few “special spices” lend to the experience.
Now we know what you’re thinking, “Can’t I just mix together whatever wine, spices, and fruit I have in my cupboard?”
Sjöblom had this to say: “Many factors are involved when making a good glögg. Most people are under the impression that you can mix the spices in any kind of inexpensive wine and get a stellar result. Well, that is not true! Traditional winemakers use different varieties of oak and various grapes to bring out variations in spices and taste. The same technique is used to achieve the traditional Swedish glögg taste. Glögg and wine making can be compared to a chef preparing his meals. The quality of your base ingredients determines the end result.”
We don’t know about you, but the holidays can’t come any sooner. If you want to learn more about Sjöblom’s glögg, need to buy some for your next holiday party or want to become part of the glögg club, head to his website.