Glogg

It’s time for Glogg!

For all of my Scandinavian readers (yes there are a few), my Norse enthusiasts and general pagans it’s that time! Around thanksgiving is when I create my first batch of Glogg for friends and family. This year we aren’t having many guests but I will still make it. Now this drink isn’t for everyone, it has a lot of booze lol but it is a traditional Scandinavian drink. Its origins are not precise but it goes back many, many years.

What is Glogg? Glogg is a hot spiced wine and liquor punch served in Scandinavian countries as a Christmas drink. It’s often served on St Lucia day 12/13 but has become most identified with the general “holiday season” So how do I make it? Below is a traditional Norwegian recipe that I have been using for years. I use Cognac, but you can use Vodka instead. Remember like any food or drink, the better quality of the ingredients the better the recipe turns out.

Drink and be Merry !

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom or nutmeg
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 large sliced cinnamon stick
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1.5 cups white sugar
  • ½ 750-ml bottle of Cognac
  • ½ cup of raisins (ROUGHLY)
  • ½ cup sliced almonds (ROUGHLY)

Directions:

Heat the red wine slowly in a saucepot over medium-high heat. Put the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and ginger in a spice bag (OPTIONAL, YOU CAN JUST PUT THEM IN) and add to the pot. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Let this get to a temperature of 175f. Then put in the Cognac, let it simmer for 5-10 min. This depends on the mixtures journey to 175, did it get very hot and you brought the temp down or did you bring the temp up slowly? When the Cognac was added how did the temp drop? This is really the only part of the recipe where you have to be mindful and pay attention to your creation.

After the simmer period (7 min approx.) remove from the heat, cover and let it steep for 1.5 hours. Strain the mixture of the non-liquid ingredients if you used a spice bag or cheese cloth remove it. Reheat slowly on a very low heat.  This is a mulled wine it is supposed to be served warm or hot but not scolding/boiling. Warm enough to see slight wisps of steam rising from the glass.

You can garnish your cups with cinnamon sticks if you like, or powder the top with cinnamon. There are many recipes for Glogg out there, some vanilla based, orange, you can really be creative here.

Happy Holidays!

Red Wine for depression?

A wise person once said, “everything in moderation”. I know from personal experience that wine in moderation is the best way to enjoy it as it packs one hell of a wallop the deeper into the bottle you go…

I found a really interesting article about how Red Wine may help with depression and anxiety. Basically grape skins contain a compound called Resveratrol, which in some studied have shown to have an antidepressant activity in mice and rats. I know not a lot to go on but it’s great that tests are ongoing.

The first thing we must do is be honest about depression and anxiety. From the article “Experts still do not fully understand what causes depression and why it affects some people but not others. One theory is called the glucocorticoid hypothesis. The body releases glucocorticoids, which include cortisol, when a person feels stressed. In the short term, these hormones help ready the body for an impending crisis.

However, if the stress lasts for a longer time, glucocorticoids can begin to cause harm. In this way, some scientists believe that chronic stress damages neurons in the hippocampus, which are particularly sensitive. This damage then paves the way for anxiety and depression.”

Right now, most of the drugs that doctors prescribe for depression and anxiety interact with serotonin or noradrenaline pathways in the brain. While red wine might not be the end of anxiety and depression, the pathing in which resveratrol takes is different then the interaction with serotonin and noradrenaline.

Right now, I bet your eyes are glossing over. The article is technical and links back to some clinical studies, it’s a decent read if you are into that thing. The bottom line is red wine has many benefits along with taste (if that’s your thing). Alcohol consumed in moderation is okay for people with depression and anxiety. The trick is not relying on the substance to provide you relief of your symptoms.

For those that don’t want to drink Alcohol, there are plenty of supplements on the market that have grape skin, and grape seed extract in them.

Anyway, anything that might help is worthy of a small-time investment. Take a look and remember, one day at a time.