Try a traditional seasonal sip from Scandinavia
(Originally posted December 2020, updated November 2021)
If you’ve been to a Christmas market in Europe, you may have tasted a glass – or special mug – of the warm spiced mulled wine served up at the lot of them. 2020 had its reasons for calling off Christmas markets last season, but so far, 2021 is open in Copenhagen for experiencing some of the best. And while I’m not opposed to grabbing a glass in a classic Julemarked, sometimes you want to sit down surrounded by a festive atmosphere. That’s what I’m sharing here. Not anywhere near Scandinavia? Don’t worry, you can still fashion a little festive flavor in your own home, wherever you are. Why not try the Danish version of mulled wine this year? In Denmark, we all call it gløgg. The Swedes know it as glögg. And it’s warm, slightly spiced, and oh so good. I’m a big fan.
Not too big a fan, never fear. But in the season gløgg is being served, I definitely like to sample a mug or two. Today, I’m sharing a few of my favorite spots in the Danish capital where you can cozy up with a festive glass. Can’t come to Copenhagen right now? Take a peek at what you’re missing and make your way down the post where I share links to a couple of recipes or where to order a bottle online.
How to pronounce “gløgg”
Let’s start with how you actually pronounce the word gløgg. Hint. It doesn’t rhyme with clog. Or sound like glug. It’s that funny Danish ø that you just have to learn how to do. The double g at the end makes a hard sound almost like “ck” sometimes. Listen to this Dane pronounce it below and give it a go:
Where to taste Copenhagen’s best gløgg
Every year, the Torvehallerne food market in the middle of Copenhagen sponsors a competition to crown Denmark’s best gløgg. Normally, it is a frenzied affair chock full of spectators sampling little sips of the spiced goods outside the market. We last joined the fun in November 2019 rubbing elbows and waiting for our turn to taste all the competitors’ offerings. Alas, those potential crowds can’t congregate this Christmas 2020 – so the previous year’s winner carried the title forward until they can compete again. Skål to 2021 being a little more festive and friendly! Check Torvehallerne’s website for details and specifics, but as of posting, the competition is on. To be the best, each sip will be judged on three things. Level of Christmas spices, overall taste, and inner warmth.
Torvehallerne Gløgg Competition
Sunday 21 November, 2021
12.00 – 15.00
Even if there wasn’t a new winner for 2020, I can confirm that 2019’s champ still serves up a delicious cup of Christmas cheer. Check out Noorbohandelen, Denmark’s gløgg winner for 2016, 2018, and 2019. At only 50 DKK, it’s a treat and a steal. Not too sweet and perfectly spiced. New tented seating areas afford more space and spots to enjoy inside the market this season. Or pick up a bottle of Noorbohandelen’s special gløggessens (essence) to take home and use their recipe.
Here is the recipe for Danish champion Gløgg:
– 500ml Gløgg essence from Noorbohandelen (purchase at their stand in the market).
– 500ml Red wine
– At will, add freshly squeezed orange juice and a dash of white port wine
Velbekomme! Enjoy.– Noorbohandelen.dk
If you’re south of Copenhagen near the island of Møn, you can step inside Noorbohandelen’s distillery shop on the quiet nature island of Nyord. Taste the gløgg or purchase your essence there too. Want to make your own essence just like the champs? Danish media posted their winning recipe a couple of years back. Turn on the Google translate option in your browser to see in it English.
Tovehallerne Hall 2 | Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 København
Nyord Bygade 1, 4780 Stege, Møn
More cozy spots to find a mug of mulled gløgg in Copenhagen
Take in the hygge at any one of these spots, each a perfect place to experience a mug when out and about.
Kongens Nytorv 19, 1050 København
Well-situated on a corner of the recently renovated and re-opened Kongens Nytorv, Hviid’s Vinstue is a perfect spot to stop before or after your Christmas shopping or light peeping. The oldest vinstue in the city has been catering to customers for nearly 300 years. Step down inside this old-school gem, properly dark and cozy for Christmas and let them serve up a classic glass of gløgg. But don’t go too early, the mulled wine starts pouring here every year from 11.00 on 11 November. I adore this level of predictability. Too many people inside? There should be tables set up outside on the square to serve everyone safely. Or take a liter of Hviid’s gløgg home for your people to share.
Kongens Nytorv 34, 1050 København K
Always worth a little splurge, step inside the posh Hotel D’Angleterre’s Marchal restaurant for some of the city’s fanciest gløgg and accompanying Christmas treats. Famous for their “Snow Queen” white gløgg served with snowball cakes. Traditional red gløgg and non-alcoholic are available too. Book table reservations for the wine room or check for space outside on the terrace or in the bar on demand.
Tordenskjoldsgade 15, 1055 København
Staying near Kongens Nytorv, tucked down behind the Royal Theater Old Scene, is the elegant Hotel Sanders. Sit outside under the heat lamps and Christmas trees or step inside and cuddle in the sumptuous couches near the live fire. You don’t need to be a guest to enjoy the atmosphere and delicious gløgg here. Book a table in the bar for other Christmas cocktails and eats. It’s one of my favorites.
Overgaden Neden Vandet 29, 1414 København K
For Christmas, the Boat Rental and Café on the Christianshavn canal creates a super hyggelig vinterhytte right on the water. Warm up in the little hut by the heater with your hot mug of gløgg. Watch the charming train loop around the top choo-choo’ing past cute little wooden cutouts of the Copenhagen cityscape. Tasty festive food is available too. While not fancy, this spot is popular, so if you’ve got a group – best book ahead. The winter hut opens for canal-side service on 13 November 2021 at 12.00 straight up. Email CBUBOOKING@GMAIL.COM to reserve your space.
Tivoli, Vesterbrogade 3, 1620 København
You can’t say Christmas without including Tivoli when talking about Copenhagen. I try to collect the annual gløgg mugs served at the stand near the H.C. Andersen ride. Insider tip – add some extra snaps or amaretto to your mug for a little extra Mmmmm. When in Copenhagen, right? This year, if you want up the Tivoli experience, try the gløgg at Nimb’s Gemyse – a little greenhouse garden oasis tucked in the middle of the park. Open wood burners and seats outside to keep you warm this season. It’s all sorts of cute.
Gammel Mønt 4, 1117 København
The grand old wine shop on Gammel Mønt, just steps from all your Christmas shopping spots has a charming little wine bar tucked off the front entrance. Snag the warm wood booth by the window and sample a glass of warm spiced wine and traditional Danish brunkager cookies. Or just a glass of what wines and port they are pouring – it’s elegant and festive this time of year.
Sankt Kjelds Pl. 14, 2100 København Ø
Trine Hahnemann might be the queen of Danish Christmas cooking. Don’t mess with her Danish Christmas dinner. Step inside her café and cooking class space in outer Østerbro to pick up some of her delicious cookies, Christmas honning cakes, and fantastisk sourdough breads. Also? Of course. Gløgg. Trine has a unique recipe that uses blackcurrant juice and you find the recipe in her Scandinavian Christmas cookbook or buy a bottle at the café to take away. Or pop over to my older Danish Christmas foods post where I share the recipe there.
Make your own Gløgg at home
All over Scandinavia, you can purchase bottles of premade mulled gløgg or special mixes at your local market to add your preferred wine and warm atop your own stove and home. The Swedes swear by their Blössa glögg which comes in classic flavors you can order online around Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Every year, they blend a special flavor and present it in a pretty new bottle. In the UK, you can order Blössa and other seasonal treats for delivery from Scandi Kitchen. In the US, you might be able to pick up a bottle at an IKEA near you or a World Market. Don’t forget the slivered almonds and raisins to soak in the bottom of your glass. That makes it Danish.
Can’t get your hands on a bottle of gløgg or something to get you started? It can still be made from scratch. And will probably taste much better!
Noorbohandelen’s Winning Red Gløgg – see full recipe on DR.dk
- 2.25 l strong red wine (3 bottles)
- 3.5 dl Calvados
- 3.5 dl vodka
- 3.5 dl dark rum
- 750 g brown sugar
- 50 g allspice, whole
- 50 g cinnamon, whole
- 25 g cloves, whole
- 25 g cardamom, whole
For the Gløgg
- 3.75 l red wine(5 bottles)
- 4 dl orange juice
- 1 kg sultana raisins
- 300 g slivered almonds
- 350 ml white port wine
- Slices of orange (so there is one slice per serving)
- White port, dark rum and honey (to adjust the taste)
Head to website for instructions on putting the perfect gløgg together. Instructions are in Danish, but can be easily translated using the Google translate plugin in your Chrome browser.
Non-Alcoholic Gløgg or Spiced Apple Cider
- 2 apples
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 l good apple juice
- 4 tbsp cane sugar
- 1 star anise
- 3 whole black peppercorns
- 1 cardamom capsule
- ½ cm fresh ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 40 g dried cranberries
For instructions and inspiration, head to Meyer’s website.
So that’s it! A little Danish Christmas cheer in a cup. Did I miss a favorite spot in the capital city where to taste the season’s best sip? Please add a comment and let me know. Or pop over to Oregon Girl Around the World on Facebook and drop your suggestion there. When you can, you really should come to Copenhagen, she said. At Christmas!