Thanksgiving down and Christmas and New Year’s to go! And there are two things that help me through this holiday trifecta … Love Actually (to get me in the spirit) and glögg (to keep me there). Sappy movie, and the aroma of cinnamon, oranges, ginger and cloves, wafting through the air. Feels like the holidays are finally here!
If you’ve never had the opportunity to watch Love Actually, please let me know and I will loan you one of my three DVDs. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I watch it at least three times, and have done so since it premiered ten years ago. To the uninitiated, it may seem like a silly romantic comedy, but to the rest of us who know better it's the quintessential holiday movie.
There are stories for everyone and they are each as poignant, as they are funny. Family theatrics? Check! Loss and unrequited love? That’s in there. Dramatic marriage proposal, and even more dramatic wedding? That’s there too. First love? Secrets and seedy romantic entanglements? Yes, yes, and yes. Wrap this all up with a bow, and a stellar all star cast consisting of Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman (aka Professor Snape to you Harry Potter fans!), Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth … and a kickin’ soundtrack, and you’ve got the Grade A best movie of the holiday season.
Love Actually is exactly what the holidays are about. Joy mingled with sadness, memories, the end of a cycle and the start of a new one; It's about friendships, and families, both given and chosen. Leaving and coming home again. And most importantly, it's about love, in its many many different shapes, and real people taking chances and risking their hearts ... again. Because at the end of the day, "love actually" is all around, and is the only thing you need.
Dear Love Actually: To me, you are perfect. And so is glögg.
Glögg (spiced wine)
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
- 1 small piece ginger, peeled
- Grated zest of 1/2 orange
- 6 whole cloves
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 750 milliliter bottle dry red wine
- 1 cup ruby port or Madeira
- 1 cup sugar
Crush the cinnamon and cardamom using a mortar and pestle (or put them on a cutting board and crush them with the bottom of a heavy pot).
Put them in a small glass jar and add the ginger, orange zest, cloves, and vodka. Let stand for 24 hours.
Strain the vodka through a fine sieve into a large saucepan; discard the spices. Add the red wine, port or Madeira and sugar.
Heat over medium heat just until bubbles start to form around the edges.
Serve the glögg hot.
Keep any remaining glögg warm over very low heat until ready to serve (do not allow to boil).