Ringing in Christmas with glögg and tubas

There are few Christmas traditions as special as hot mulled wine (glögg) and Tuba Christmas (which I attended for the first time last year and quickly realized I cannot celebrate properly without).

This week my Christmas kicked off in glorious fashion with dinner at American Swedish Institute's Fika where I indulged in white glögg and wondered why I've never thought of swapping red wine out for white. It was a taste revelation, and I rushed home to brew my own version. (I also enjoyed a cup of salmon chowder, which I recreated for this week's Called to the Table column. Check it out this coming Thursday.)

Yesterday we met T's sister and her husband for lunch in Northfield then assembled in the chapel at St. Olaf for A Tuba Christmas, perhaps the best show money can buy (although seating is free).

Tubas are a misunderstood instrument. They can be loud, sure, even in a brass band. They are often imposing and perhaps slightly intimidating amid the smaller more delicate woodwinds. But given the respect they deserve, they are nothing short of majestic. Imagine fifty-plus tubas joined on one immense stage playing Christmas classics like "0 Tannenbaum" and the obligatory tuba standard "Fum, Fum, Fum."

My ears are buzzing, my feet still tapping, and I've got more glögg heating on the stove. The holidays have begun.

Vit Glögg
Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
2-inch hunk of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 star anise
Several pinches fresh grated nutmeg
2 allspice berries, smashed but intact
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 1/2 cup water
1 bottle dry white table wine
1 cup dark rum

To make spice infusion: In small sauce pan add spices to water and bring to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep 1 hour. Store chilled up to one week.

To make glögg: In glögg pot or in saucepan over medium low gently heat wine and 1/2 cup of spice infusion until just hot. Do not boil. Add rum and serve hot with almonds and raisins if desired.




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