If you’re in need of a new way to keep out the cold, channel your inner Swede and try some glögg. Pronounced more like glug, this version of mulled wine has deep roots and tradition in Sweden. Now Two Swedes Glögg is making the winter warmer here in Colorado.
“It’s a wine-type drink with lots of spices, like cinnamon, that you drink warm, particularly when it’s cold out. The alcohol and the temperature itself help to warm you up and make you feel really good,” says Per-Magnus Persson, co-owner of Two Swedes Glögg. “It’s a social drink. People get together and drink glögg. They have a big pot on the stove and serve it out of there.”
Like a Swedish version of eggnog.
Served hot, Two Swede’s Glögg is a combination of port, shiraz and brandy combined with cinnamon, cardamom, clove, orange rind and sugar. It’s similar to German glühwein, popular at European Christmas markets, but it has approximately twice the alcohol content, at 17 percent ABV (alcohol by volume).
Though it’s newer on the Colorado scene, the beverage has ancient roots. The Romans most likely brought mulled wine to Scandinavian countries as they traveled north, conquering much of Europe and trading with other cultures, including the Swedes.
“[The drink] fell out of favor down in the southern part of Europe but stayed up north where it’s cold,” Persson says. “Most countries up there have their own version, but it’s all very similar.
“In Sweden, it’s tradition around this time of year to buy or make glögg at home,” Persson says. “We [the two Swedes] have both been here about 25 years, but it never occurred to us that it doesn’t exist here and that people might like it.”
The lightbulb came on when Persson’s wife, who is American, tasted it, loved it and said “I wish we could buy this in stores.” Persson and his long-time friend, Ulrik Olsson, were inspired and started making and marketing their blended, spiced wine in 2015.
Persson lives in Colorado Springs. Olsson resides in Grand Junction, Colorado wine country, where they procure the spirits for their glögg from Two Rivers Winery.
“After we buy the supplies: the wine, the port, the brandy and the spices. We soak the spices in brandy first, for a predetermined amount of time,” Persson says. “Then we mix everything in a big vat and add sugar, stir and fill bottles.”
Using a filtration machine to remove any sediment from the spice blend, the glögg is made in all stainless steel. Currently, Two Swedes Glögg is distributed across Colorado and up and down the Front Range from Pueblo to Fort Collins. There are over 25 retailers in the Colorado Springs area alone. Last year, The Broadmoor was pouring glögg, and you can find it being served in ski resort restaurants, such as The Alpine Rose in Vail.
“It’s a unique thing for Colorado,” Persson says. “There is nothing like it being sold in the U.S.”
But Perrson says the reaction is always the same even if people are hesitant at first, “A couple of seconds of hesitation, and then them realizing it’s really, really good.”
I agree. I found the glögg fruit-forward, easy-drinking, with satisfying notes of cinnamon and winter citrus. It appeals to a variety of palates since it is slightly sweet but also has a dry finish. And I could see it easily warmed up in a Crock-Pot to share with friends and family in the new year.
“It’s a winter drink,” Persson says. “Anytime it’s cold, it’s great.”
Where to Get Some Glögg
Local tastings of Two Swedes Glögg are being held at Veteran’s Liquor Store and at Colorado Coffee Merchants. Two Swedes Glögg will also be participating in the Colorado Mountain Winefest held in Palisade, September 2017.
Get more info, including a list of local retailers, at twoswedesglogg.com.