Pirjo’s Finnish Glögi Feels Like a Christmas Miracle

A portrait from Finland

Three things to be grateful for as we close out a crazy 2020.


Glögi at Christmastime

finnish glögi in a pair of tsaikke glasses in front of a lighted christmas tree and a pretty lit candle

When it comes to holidays I think of the Glühwein I tasted in Weihnachtsmarkts (German Christmas Markets) with Tante Kate (who appeared on Ashriya’s soft pretzel portrait!) and her mother, Tina.

I have made it a few times for cookie parties, but I never hit my memory / nostalgia. This year I wanted to try it again, but didn’t want to make large batches when I can’t share it. I didn’t think too much about it until it came up on conversation with Oskari [our web designer and developer also behind the portrait memorializing his 2019 4-way fusion dinner that will took on new significance in 2020 and this one on his Christmas pudding + peace declaration tradition?].

Next was a bit of a Christmas miracle: Oskari shared his mom’s recipe, and I will be forever grateful for two reasons. First, it’s the simplest recipe and easily cooks up in small batches – even one glass. How brilliant is that?

With a bit of prep, it’s ready anytime – even just one nip – in less than 5 mins: your new favorite mulled wine.

Second, he decoded the mystery of my favorite mugs!

chai and garam masala oatmeal raisin cookies
chai and garam masala oatmeal raisin cookies


Tsaikka Glasses

I found these cool pair of glasses on Etsy a zillion years ago and was excited to use them to serve my chai masala which I serve at nearly every meeting hosted in my home. I didn’t know their story, never mind their name to look more into it.

One collaborator told me she thought they hailed from Russia because she had only ever seen them there. And that was all I knew until Oskari told me they are the traditional glasses for Finnish glögi! Ding, ding, ding!

pirjo's finnish glögi getting made and ready for a crowd
pirjo’s finnish glögi getting made and ready for a crowd

Yay! And then in early 2022 on one of my antiquing escapades, I happened upon the accompanying little serving bowl for the raisins and almonds to serve in the glass. Christmas miracle number three!

glögi by the chalk fireplaceglögi by the chalk fireplace


Pirjo’s Finnish Glögi

As with many beloved food and drink, there’s as many glögi / gluhwein / mulled wine / etc. recipes as there are people who drink it. Oskari’s mom’s brilliant, simple and utterly delicous recipe is as follows:

The ginger and cardamom is infused into 1 decilitre of clear spirit (we had vodka) in a sealed container overnight. Then right before serving, combine in a saucepan a bottle of cheap red wine with a quarter litre of sugar (adjust amount to taste and type of wine) and heat up – do not let boil. Strain the spices out of the spirit, and add the spirit into the wine at the end. Serve immediately, preferably from a Tsaikka glass, and a small bowl of mixed almonds and raisins to optionally spoon into your glass.

Pirjo’s recipe for Finnish-style glögi

It is really that simple. Infuse the vodka with cardamom and ginger at least a day before. Heat up some warmed up wine with a tad of sugar. Serve in a pretty glass and if you like, garnish with almonds and raisins. Ready for one, two or a crowd in a matter of minutes.


Finnish Christmas

For the details on this playlist, hop over to the portrait memorializing his 2019 4-way fusion dinner that will took on new significance in 2020. Oskari provides a lot of detail and context for the music which is also sorted by sentiment!

My favorite song from the playlist (Sinivourten Yö by Lauluyhtye Viisi) is featured on the above short video clip. That whole album is nice, but that song is the most fun.


Tsaikka Inherited

And to add a happy ending to an already happy story, Oskari is now the proud caretaker of his mothers Tsaikka glasses. He was meant to bring them home on his summer trip, but COVID-19 had other plans. The postal service managed their safe transport from Finland to England, just in time for Oskari and Helen to toast Christmas 2020, with big hopes for 2021.

Finnish Glög in two traditional Finnish Tsaikka glasses
Finnish glögi in two traditional Finnish Tsaikka glasses

Kippis (cheers in Finnish) to a better 2021!