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Every year on Christmas Eve, we gathered at Uncle Vic’s house for our traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner. As family and friends arrived, he would greet them with a cup of his famous Glugg. The aroma of Glugg filled the house with the wonderful scent of spices. Coming in from the cold New England winter and greeted with a warm cup of Glugg instantly made you feel that you were home. With the fire glowing in the fireplace and the family gathered around snatching a piece of fried fish, the festivities began.
He always had the biggest Christmas tree that he cut down himself. Covered with old antique ornaments and everyone’s gifts stacked under the tree, we could hardly get into the living room. The house was open to anyone who didn’t have a place to go and filled with fun as each person arrived bring their homemade biscotti as everyone gathered around to see them being added to our dessert table.
He handmade all the ornaments that were placed outside and inside the house. Christmas was his time to give his family a memorable evening. We carry on this tradition to this day, passing our traditions to our children and remembering those who taught them to us.
The original recipe came from a friend of my uncles and over many years he tweaked it and made it his own. My uncle has long passed, but his daughter and granddaughter continue this tradition and we toast Uncle Vic every Christmas Eve with his famous Glugg.
Uncle Vic prepared bottles of Glugg and presented everyone who visited during the Holiday’s with a bottle to take home. This recipe is best started a few weeks in advance as you want the spices to meld together creating a rich aroma.
The effort of preparing a homemade gift to present to friends is a special way saying Happy Holiday’s and this spicy wine really hits the spot on a cold snowy night.
Uncle Victor’s Old Fashioned Glugg
Cook Time: 30 minutes on high, 10 minutes on medium heat
Yield: 2 1/4 gallons
2 oranges sliced
3 oz. dried prunes
1 lb. seedless raisins
6 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cardamom seeds
12 -14 whole cloves
1 large can frozen grape juice
1 gal. Port wine
1 gal. Rose wine
1/2 gal 80-100 proof grain alcohol (80 proof vodka may be substituted)
1 quart cranberry juice (optional)
OTHER THINGS NEEDED
Cheesecloth approx. 24” by 24”
Place the orange slices, frozen grape juice, raisins, prunes, cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds and cloves in a large saucepan. Add just enough water to cover. Boil the mixture until the raisins are plump with liquid; about 30 minutes on high. Add small amounts of water as the water reduces from boiling. You may also add some Port wine to enhance the taste of the fruit if you plan to use it to compliment a dessert or ice cream.
Let the fruit mixture cool and then place the cheesecloth in a large strainer to cover the inside and overlap the top. Carefully pour the mixture through the cheesecloth to remove sediment. This will have to be done a few times until the liquid is clear of sediment. Set aside the fruit.
Return the liquid to the large saucepan. Over medium heat, add the Port and Rose wines and the vodka and stir. Taste to see if it needs more sugar and add according to taste. You can add the cranberry juice if you like a more tart flavor. Heat the mixture until it is warmed through; approximately 10 minutes.
DO NOT BOIL.
Your Glugg is ready to be served. Enjoy!
• Glugg can be reheated anytime
• Save empty wine and liquor bottles for storage of leftover Glugg.
NOTE: Left over fruit may be turned into a delicious Holiday preserve.