One of my sisters is allergic to cinnamon so I usually avoid using it when I’m developing spice blends. For a more standard spice profile you can add a couple of cinnamon sticks, but I really enjoy this one without it.


  • 2 bottles port (I usually do one Porto Morgado Tawny and one Ruby)
  • 2 bottles red wine (inexpensive California Merlot)
  • 1 bottle brandy (Raynal V.S.O.P.)
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 30 allspice berries
  • 20 cloves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 orange, washed and quartered
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup almond slivers
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup honey

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and heat gently to just under boiling. Remove from heat; cover and let steep for at least two hours (I generally make it late at night and bottle it the next day.) Strain and bottle.

Serve hot.


  • 2 quarts unsweetened tea
  • 2 quarts white grape juice
  • 250 ml Ribena concentrate
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 dozen whole cloves
  • 30 allspice berries
  • 20 peppercorns
  • 1 orange, washed and quartered
  • 10 ounces currants
  • 1 cup almond slivers

Follow the same process as the alcoholic version.

Gløgg Bread

Throwing out a pile of perfectly good almonds and raisins always felt wasteful, so a couple of years ago I came up with a festive spiced quick bread based on the leftover solids.

  • detritus from one batch (orange excepted), blended until smooth
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together flour and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Bake in an oiled loaf pan for 50-55 minutes, or until done.