Day One • 12 Sips of Brooklyn
THE DANISH SEAMEN’S CHURCH (Den Danske Sømandskirke), housed in a lovely brownstone with a ship’s bell in the front yard on Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights, is a religious, social and cultural center for New York’s Danes. Brooklyn Artisan’s culinary team made its way there for the smørrebrød during the church’s Traditional Christmas Fair at the end of November. In the yard behind the church, in an immense pot, we discovered Gløgg, the mulled wine that fuels Danish Christmas. It’s wonderfully warming and tastes great with spiced cookies and æbleskiver, the Danish version of the doughnut hole.
Julie Sløk, the Church’s Sømandspræst (pastor—literally “sailor priest”) has shared the recipe—although I would have thought it a closely guarded state secret. Gløgg, according to Julie, “will take about a week to make—like any good recipe it is simple but needs time. So you have to begin a week before. This is the recipe for 10 to 15 persons depending on how much you like it. Voilà and god jul!”
5 sticks cinnamon
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut in thin slices
20 whole cloves
25 cardamom pods
2 tsp dried coriander
2 cups water
1 1/2 lbs raisins
2 1/2 cups rum
1 bottle port
3 bottles red wine (no need to spend a fortune on it but it should be on the fuller side)
1/2 to 1 lb of almond splinters
2 cups of brandy or cognac
Sugar to taste
One week before the party
Create an extract by combining the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom pods, coriander, peppercorns and water.
Bring to a boil, then let it cool down and sit covered for 4 to 5 days.
Mix the rum and port together in another container, add the raisins and soak for 5 days. (Note: Don’t use aluminum containers for storing these parts.)
Day of the party
Strain the extract through a sieve and put it in a large pot along with the peel of one orange and the peel of one lemon. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Pour in the three bottles of red wine and heat it without boiling.
Add the cognac, the raisins with liquid and the almonds. Add sugar to taste (not too sweet but not too sour). Serve hot with spice cookies.
Danish Seamen’s Church
102 Willow Street, Brooklyn Heights
Photograph by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Avant Garde, by Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnese, ITC, 1970.