Glögg -- pronounced more or less like glooog and meaning roughly "glow" -- is a sweet mulled wine made with spices, claret (red wine), port, and brandy. Glogg is a traditional beverage for Christmas Eve as well as Scandinavian celebrations of Pagan origin, such as Walpurgisnacht. Glögg served as an oblation for the Nordic gods to ensure good fortune for the whole household. It is the perfect cold-weather drink, warming the body and soul from the inside out.
Crack the cardamom seed pods open by placing a pod on the counter and laying a butter knife on top of it. With the palm of your hand, press on the knife. It will crack it open so the flavors of the seeds can escape. You can leave the seeds in the pods once they are cracked.
Pour the red wine and port into a stainless-steel or porcelain kettle. Do not use an aluminum or copper pot since these metals interact with the wine and brandy to impart a metallic taste. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange peel, raisins, and almonds. Cover and bring to a simmer.
Put the sugar in a pan and soak it with half the brandy. Warm over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until it becomes a clear, golden syrup and all the sugar is dissolved. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the tiny bubbles become large burbles.
Add the sugar syrup to the spiced wine mix. Cover and let it simmer over low heat for an hour.
Strain to remove the spices, almonds, and raisins. You can serve your glögg immediately or bottle it in clean used wine or whiskey bottles. May be "aged" for up to two months.
To serve glögg, warm it gently in a saucepan over a low flame or crockpot. Serve it in a mug and garnish with a strip of fresh orange peel, twisted over the mug to release the oils.