Surrounded by a blanket of snow, we nestle ourselves indoors and cozy up by the fire as the fragrant scent of hot mulled apple cider (eplegløgg) penetrates the room. Romjul, the time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, is meant for such moments. A time of togetherness and playing outdoors then filling our bellies with good things that are warm and comforting.
Eplegløgg is the lighter variation of gløgg, which is made with a berry cordial or red wine. It’s fresher and tangier, yet still carries a pronounced flavor of spice and citrus. It’s an ideal drink for everyone, whether by an open fire outdoors or inside at the table with a game of cards at hand. Drinks like this are by their very nature cozy, so it’s only up to you as to how you wish to partake in them.
Preparing eplegløgg couldn’t be simpler. Choose your favorite apple juice or non-alcoholic apple cider and add spices to your liking. I’ve provided my favorite combination in this recipe, but feel free to mix and match with other spices, like cardamom pods. You can also swap the orange with lemon. And you can even top a glass off with some rum, mild aquavit or cognac for a spiked version.
Hot Mulled Apple Cider (Eplegløgg)
Serves 8 to 10
- 8 ½ cups (2 liters) apple juice/apple cider
- ¼ cup (40 g) brown sugar or honey
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- Juice from ½ orange
- ½ orange, sliced in rings
- 1 red apple, sliced in rings
In a large, heavy pot, warm the apple juice and brown sugar over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat then add the cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, ground allspice, fresh ginger, orange juice, orange slices and half of the apple slices. Heat on low for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors infuse.
Fill individual glasses with the remaining apple slices. If I have fresh cranberries on hand, I’ll add a couple in each glass for decoration.
Feel free to strain the warm cider before serving or serve as is straight from the pot, having guests discard any spices that may fall in their cups. Store leftover cider in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, straining the spices beforehand. This makes a lovely cold drink in the morning for breakfast as well. You can also easily double the recipe for a party.