Aquavit, a Michelin-starred Swedish restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, has succeeded for decades with its Nordic cuisine. While a table reservation is hard to come by, the lounge offers a relaxed drinking and dining area (with a special bar menu featuring Swedish meatballs!) that should be on any New Yorker’s radar. The restaurant is named after a Nordic spirit of the same name (also spelled Akvavit), which has an alcohol volume of 40%. Usually flavored with spices and herbs, this New York restaurant adds some fresh and dried fruit as well. Order a cocktail shaken with pear and pepper aquavit, or a seasonal trio of aquavits, or in the colder months, opt for Glögg (pronounced like glug). This odd sounding drink is the Nordic version of mulled wine that has yet to make its breakthrough in America, perhaps due to its strange name. If you can’t make it to Aquavit, or just can’t get enough of this sweet and bitter warm beverage, check out the restaurant’s signature Glögg recipe.
2 cups dry red wine
½ cup golden raisins, additional for serving
12 cardamom pods
5 dried figs, sliced
4 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
1 orange, zest and juice
½ heaping cup sugar
½ cup vodka
¼ cup bourbon
blanched almonds, for serving
pepparkakor (Swedish spiced ginger snaps), for serving
Place red wine, golden raisins, orange zest and juice, cardamom pods, figs, cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise in a large pot; bring to a simmer, stirring from time to time. Remove from heat, add sugar and stir until fully dissolved.
Heat vodka and bourbon; add to red wine mixture, stir and strain.
To serve: place a small handful of raisins in each glass, pour glögg evenly between the glasses, and serve with blanched almonds, raisins and pepparkakor on the side. Best enjoyed in a clear glass, to enjoy all the colors and flavors with each sip.
How do you make mulled wine? Share your secret below in the comments.