Christmastime Is (Hic) Here
Now it’s time to talk about Christmas libations. The Smithsonian’s food blog has a feature about holiday beers and other seasonal drinks, including glogg:
The Swedish rendition of mulled wine, glögg, or gløgg, is a keyboard nightmare—so we’re going to call it glogg. Red wine, orange peel, cloves and cardamom are the essential ingredients of this Christmastime drink, though some versions contain additions like sugar, cinnamon sticks, brandy and Port wine. My own preference is for something heavily spiced but on the drier side. Glogg can be purchased ready-made in bottles, but the drink is so easy—and, at the risk sounding cheesy, fun and festive—to make that not stewing up your own would just be silly. Try this recipe. The wine (it needn’t be expensive) is heated slowly in a cauldron with orange slices, whole cloves and cardamom powder bathing in the drink. These and other ingredients’ flavors leech into the wine, and the warm aromas fill the house. Now, before your company arrives, get the pronunciation down: That funny “o” is, in fact, pronounced like the double “o” in hook, making glogg actually more like “glug.” Which allows you, as host, to look from guest to guest to guest as you take drink orders and suggest, “Glug? Glug? Glug?” Mulled wine just isn’t the same.
I like glogg, or gluhwein (whatever), okay, but it’s not my favorite thing to drink at Christmas. That would be bubbly white wine. Champagne is too expensive, but Eileen at Calandro’s on Government Street hooked me up with a fantastically dry, affordable prosecco. There will be bubbles on Christmas chez moi.
My friend James sent me a Cherry The Dive Bar Girl recipe for Mai Tais, which I am adapting into a Christmas punch for our celebration tomorrow. I don’t like things too sweet, so I’m going to serve this in glasses, but cut mine with seltzer:
Mai Tai Recipe
2 oz orange juice
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz Rose’s lime juice
1 oz dark rum
½ oz light rum
½ oz coconut rum
½ oz triple sec
1 splash grenadine
Mix, serve over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with shaved coconut, pineapple slices, cherries, and a cocktail umbrella.
Want to make a ½ gallon? Every time you see oz, substitute cup. 2 oz of orange juice becomes 2 cups of orange juice.
I’m going to use fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice instead of lime juice, and vodka and Kraken spiced rum instead of light and coconut rum. There will be maraschino cherries, for sure. Now, if you’re sitting in snow on Christmas day, this punch will sound strange, I suppose. But it’s going to be in the seventies tomorrow here, until the storms move through, plunging our temperature down to freezing. At which point we can switch to red wine, if necessary. Your Working Boy remains at the ready to make sweetish whisky drinks — Rob Roys, Manhattans, and Old Fashioneds — once the weather outside turns frightful.
There will be dark rum-spiked mugs of hot chocolate also.
What are you serving to drink on Christmas? Come to think of it, I should lay in some beer too. Among the dishes we’ll be serving to our guests are savory pies — chicken pot pie, lamb and mint pie, and beef and ale pie — all of which call for lager, or maybe an IPA. OK, off to the store…
UPDATE: David Rieff sent out his annual LIVRE SANS NOM today, and it contains this excellent and cheering remark:
“In the little moment that remains to us between the crisis and the catastrophe, we may as well drink a glass of Champagne.
— Paul Claudel, then France’s ambassador to Washington, to a group of American officials at a reception at the embassy in 1931 (told by Claud Cockburn).