One thing I picked up and really enjoyed in Sweden was the winter-time tradition of drinking Glögg, a mulled wine spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and other good things. There are many varieties, made with either red or white wine, sometimes flavored with other things like vanilla, or pumped up with the addition of cognac or other spirits. The heady drink is usually heated and served with a helping of almonds and raisins dropped in the glass, adding to the aroma and soaking up the spicy-sweet goodness.
Each winter, Blossa, one of the most popular glögg producers, puts out a special edition flavor. For the end of 2011 that flavor was revealed as “Arabica Coffee.” This year’s bottle & label, designed by Jensen Pamp McCann, is really nice, using partially frosted glass for texture & contrast, and bold numbers that highlight the coordinates that the coffee originates from. It turns out the beans they used were sourced from Finca las Delicias, El Salvador, and roasted by Sweden’s largest specialty roaster, Johan & Nystrom. I couldn’t wait to try it and see what the blend would taste like.
I really enjoyed the flavor of the glögg, but the coffee was so subtle that it was almost imperceptible to me, overpowered by the wine and spices. I’m not sure it’s worth paying the premium for the special edition, when other glögg’s taste quite similar. Have you tried it? What did you think?
Perhaps the coffee they chose was too safe; coffees from El Salvador, in my experience, tends to be middle of the road in flavor, nice and balanced, but not often surprising or full of character. I wonder what a more distinctive coffee might have brought to the already strong flavors present in glögg. Maybe we’ll see some other coffee roasters start experimenting with their own ideas, branching off from the more trendy beer collaborations? If you hear of any, do share! Also, if you know where I can get glögged up in New York, pass the word in the comments – I’m sure others would be curious too.
Anyways, to get you into the mood for some glögg, I’m posting some pictures I took this winter and the winter of 2010 in Sweden and Denmark :)