Marcus Samuelsson On Why Glogg Is His Go-To Cold Weather Drink - Exclusive

Nothing is cozier than a warm mug of Swedish glogg. Typical glogg recipes call for red wine, mulled with aromatic spices and orange peels. While there are a number of different mulled wine versions from around the world, Swedish glogg incorporates raisins and almonds by putting them in the bottom of the glass and pouring the libation over them, per Swedish Foods, and that addition of raisins and almonds is one way that glogg differs from other nations' mulled wines. 

Also, in addition to red wine, vodka and port are added. Since it's customary for Swedes to attend multiple glogg parties on the weekends in December leading up to Christmas, the celebratory drink is served in small glasses so people can pace themselves responsibly, according to Swedish Foods.

Raised in Sweden, celebrity chef and philanthropist Marcus Samuelsson's iteration of glogg is anything but typical, but Samuelsson pays homage to Swedish culture in many culinary ways, and in this exclusive interview, he talked about how glogg can be used as an icebreaker at parties and as a hygge-esque beverage during colder months. 

Warm glogg as an icebreaker

We all know the feeling of arriving at a party where you know maybe one person. While it would be more comfortable to glom onto that person, you don't want to be a wet blanket, so mingling is in order. If your host hands you a warm mug of glogg, they know what they are doing. The heady aromatics of spices and orange peel will set anyone at ease. Samuelsson suggests glogg as the welcome drink to any Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving party, telling Tasting Table, "when we do Thanksgiving now, we always serve Swedish glogg, this warm red wine. The whole room smells like cloves, cinnamon, and allspice, which is great. You get this warm cup in front of you."

When developing holiday dishes in his partnership with Ritz, the goal was to create a convivial atmosphere via food and drink. The beginning of the party is the most important in creating that atmosphere. Samuelsson says, "the way we developed the recipes with Ritz, [is so that if you have] that first awkward 30 minutes when people don't know each other in the room, serve great crackers with avocado hummus on top of it. Now, everyone is at ease, and they get a glass of glogg. Now, the party can start."

Glogg and hygge culture

Although "hygge culture" is technically from Denmark, Samuelsson remarks on the similarities between celebrating the coziness of winter in both Denmark and Sweden. Of course, glogg is essential. 

He told Tasting Table, "hygge is really from Denmark. It's a whole different [thing], but in Sweden ... leading up to Christmas, there's all these smorgasbord parties where you get together with your work colleagues, when you get together with your school friends. 

"Hygge is something to celebrate throughout December in Sweden with a different type of event, but not at all on high end. It's much more about celebrating each other. It's been a long year, especially the last two, three years. You have some glogg, you have some saffron bun, there might be some cured fish and herrings at the table. You end up with meatballs and red cabbage, gravy, and a turkey very often. It's the whole seasonality. It's the festivity of the season."

To celebrate the culturally diverse food and flavors that bring people together, Marcus Samuelsson has partnered with Ritz on a limited-edition cookbook with delicious new recipes and a limited-edition Goldbelly kit featuring a dish from his cookbook. The partnership also includes a Friendsgiving event at his new and already acclaimed restaurant opening Hav & Mar in NYC.