Did you know this about the annual Blossa glögg?

Inspired by the sunny Amalfi coast of Italy, Blossa 18 glögg is brimming with fresh lemon and Mediterranean herbs. Why have these ingredients been chosen? Blossa Chief Blender Åsa Orsvärn tells us the story behing this much-loved glögg.

The planning, testing and manufacture of glögg is exacting teamwork, and the work on a new Blossa annual glögg starts one and a half years before. 

Three important things are always taken into consideration with Blossa annual glögg. The new flavour needs to be a pleasant surprise every year, so it has to be sufficiently different from previous years. In addition to this, it has to reflect current taste trends. To top it all off, its taste has to be compatible with the fundamental character and flavour palette of Blossa. At the beginning, there is a long list of different flavour outlines, from which we usually choose two alternative themes, of which one is chosen as the winner.

Where does the inspiration for Blossa 18 come from? 

Around 70 km from Naples, the Amalfi coast on the Sorrento peninsula is famous for its juicy lemons. Rosemary and thyme are growing wild, and basil is one of the best-known herbs used in Italian cuisine.  

“Citrus fruits work well with a white wine-based glögg and bring freshness to it. We wanted to introduce herbs for the first time in our annual flavour”, says Åsa.  “Italians are passionate about good food, and in particular about spending time eating and spending time together. Quality ingredients are important and food is prepared from scratch. This is also important for us in making glögg.

Much-loved annual glögg has been enjoyed for 15 years

From 2003 onwards, Blossa has brought out a new flavour for every winter season. Initially, the themes revolved around Nordic flavours, but from 2011 onwards, Blossa has ventured further afield. Sources of inspiration have included El Salvador, Japan, France, England and India.

Åsa and her team taste a new flavour hundreds of times before deciding on the final blend. “Initially, we included sage in the 2018 Blossa alongside rosemary, thyme and basil, but it didn’t work with the white wine-based glögg”, Åsa goes on to say. “Tasting is continuous, and it takes several months to determine the final blend.” 

The large, sun-ripened lemon called Ovale di Sorrento is somewhat sweet by nature. The very same lemons are used to produce the famous Limoncello liqueur. “The rind of the lemons is frozen, and it’s defrosted just before being infused in strong ethanol”, Åsa says.

Selecting spices is a precise job

Blossa glöggs are made from natural ingredients only. Spices such as cloves and cardamom are roughly ground and infused with ethanol to make a spice extract.  The infusion is stored for around four weeks in tanks, then matured for a further four months, before it is ready to be added to the wine base of the glögg. The herbs to be used in the annual glögg are also infused at Blossa’s own factory.

“The quality and flavour of herbs is strongly affected by the season”, says Åsa.  “When the first test batches are being prepared, the spices might be freshly picked and of a totally different composition to what they are six months later.  To ensure the consistent quality of the final product, we may have to adjust the composition and proportions of the spice mix.”

Producing a seasonal drink is a big challenge

Around 700,000 bottles of Blossa annual glögg are produced every year. The vast majority of this is consumed in Sweden, a country known for drinking glögg and where Blossa has a long history. These kinds of quantities are not produced in a moment, not even in the largest of factories. So, we start production already in May in order to be ready in good time for the coming glögg season.  This way, the glögg has time to settle in the bottle before being released to the market.

Tasting is continuous, and it takes several months to determine the final blend. 
Chief Blender Åsa Orsvärn
Try mixing Blossa 18 and sparkling water for a refreshing autumn aperitif.

“From summer onwards, the factory is a Christmas-scented hive of activity”, Åsa laughs.  The 30-strong production team keeps a close eye on the glögg’s journey, all the way from receiving different batches of spices and testing to the bottling of the ready product. 

How and with what should I enjoy my Blossa 18?

“Some people like to have it warm, while others prefer not to warm it. Both ways are very acceptable”, says Åsa. “It’s best to start the glögg drinking season in October with a room temperature or slightly chilled drink and as the weather gets colder, start warming the glögg.”

“Personally, I like having my Blossa 18 at room temperature accompanied by different kinds of hard cheese, such as Italian Pecorino or Parmesan, and olives or roasted almonds”, Åsa says. “Try mixing Blossa 18 with sparkling mineral water to make an autumn aperitif.” “Pour an equal measure of each into a Champagne glass.”

The glögg specialist knows everything about glögg

Åsa has been making annual Blossa glögg right from its inception in 2003. Her glögg-producing career is impressive: she has spent almost thirty years making the drink. “For me, a glass of glögg after a bracing ski is winter at its best! I will never get fed up of this job: every day is different.”

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