Holiday Tip: Beware the Mulled Wine

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Photos by The Gifted Photographer and and drinkingsnapple/Flickr CC


I have only once ever been drank under the table by a 90-year-old woman. It was at a Julefrokost (Christmas lunch) in Denmark and she was a relative of my friend. Shot after shot of Aquavit and toasts of skål filled the air, followed by Tuborg Julebryg beer (Christmas Brew) and, of course, the amazing Scandinavian holiday mulled wine: glögg.

After several hours and many rounds, I found myself holding on to the table for dear life, half-pretending to continue drinking the beer I was simply spitting back into the glass and looking over at this old lady who had "pro" written all over her forehead. What I got out of that night was more than a hangover and a faint sense of humiliation; I came away with a wonderful recipe for glögg.

Make sure to use a hearty wine and don't overcook it!

Here's a link to my recipe, which I demonstrated on Fox DC's What's Cooking last year. The spices you use can be quite malleable, so feel free to experiment. You can substitute vodka for Aquavit, but the more I do that upon request the more I realize it lacks the same bite. Aquavit is a caraway and anise flavored spirit that depends the flavor of the glögg. Vodka simplly adds alcohol.

Make sure to use a hearty wine and don't overcook it! A recent overcooked glögg lead me to a furious bout of doctoring it with sugar and booze, which likely left my friends with a hangover to rival that cold morning after in Denmark.

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Derek Brown is a writer, illustrator, bartender, and co-owner of acclaimed bars The Passenger and Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. He sits on the board of directors for the Museum of the American Cocktail. More

Derek Brown is a writer, illustrator, bartender, and co-owner of acclaimed bars The Passenger and Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. He travels throughout the country and around the world in search of great drinks, and the stories behind them. Derek's methodical approach to cocktails was profiled in the Wall Street Journal's "A Master of Mixological Science" and his martini lauded as the best in America by GQ. He's been in numerous media outlets featuring his approach to better drinking, including CNN, The Rachel Maddow Show and FOX. Derek is a founding member of the D.C. Craft Bartender's Guild and on the board of directors for the Museum of the American Cocktail.
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