It’s that time of year again – the festive season. No matter whether you are in New York (where I am from), Bangkok, Singapore or Shanghai (places where I have lived), it is undoubtably Christmas. However, being from a non-tropical country, I always found it slightly odd to enjoy Christmas in 34° Celsius weather. My Christmas memories of childhood are about frosty windowpanes, hot drinks and cookies warm from the oven enjoyed in the flickering light of the Christmas tree.

During my first Christmas in Asia some years back, I simply couldn’t get into the spirit. Something about bikinis on Thai beaches didn’t feel festive to me. By the next year, I sorely missed the rituals of the season. So I called my mother and got my favorite recipe for molasses cookies – my favorite childhood Christmas memory. Then shortly thereafter, a Swedish friend from the consulate in Thailand introduced me to her tradition of mulled warm wine called Glogg, and an adapted tradition was born! The spicy ginger of the molasses cookies pair incredibly well with the spiced, warm red wine and so nowadays if you come to my house in Shanghai during Christmastime, this is most likely what you would be served.

Again, these are ideal paired together, but you can always enjoy them separately as well. I hope that they too become part of your festive traditions.

Mulled wine photo courtesy of Williams Sonoma.

About Joanna Hutchins

Joanna Hutchins is a culinary travel blogger based in Shanghai, China.. In 2009, Joanna founded Accidental Epicurean, a culinary travel blog focused on Asia. Joanna is also a contributor to CNNGo, Look East magazine, SE Asia Globe and Two magazine.


18 December 2012


This mach seems to be really delicious. These biscuits are really interesting.In Italy we have a hot spiced wine called “Vin brulè” that is really similar to Swedish Glogg. I suppose that both was cooked the first time for cold evening during the winter.
Wonderful ideas. Marry Christmas

Thanks for sharing. We can get lost when displaced but family & traditions ground us.
Some Cubans took us in on Christmas Eve one year when I was too pregnant to fly home.
Their hospitality became a tradition (including food) for many years to follow.
Tastes & smells bring us rolling back to our roots, especially at Christmas time.
On Christmas Eve our home is filled with the smell of a smoking brisket (beef breast) sopped in a salty/smokey marinade………reminds all of home & Christmas.
My son move to Finland & married a beautiful Fin. We are melding our traditions with hers & it is so very joyful. Love the Glogge! Should become an all winter drink!

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