In the world of winter warmers, glögg is something of an unfamiliar character here in the U.S.
For starters, there's the name, which can be tough for native English speakers to wrap their tongues around.
"The sound 'ö' doesn't really exist in English," said Per-Magnus Persson, co-founder of Two Swedes Glögg. "Say 'glug' and it's close enough."
The mulled wine drink, a staple of Swedish cold-weather culture, is also more muscular than the traditional wassails and glühweins with which Americans are more seasonally versed.
Persson's creation contains similar ingredients, including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, and has the same red wine base. His is fortified with port and brandy, however, and rings in at a potent 17 percent alcohol by volume.
"I used to make it here, at home on the stove. Most Swedes do around Christmastime - just put a pot on, put the ingredients together and let it heat," said Persson, a physical therapist who made his way to Colorado Springs in the mid-'90s after traveling the globe and working, for a time, on an Alaskan fishing boat.
Persson's American wife, Rochelle, grew to love the treat, whose rich aroma always filled the home around the holidays. She suggested it might make for a good bottled business venture.
"We hadn't thought about it, because making glögg was just a natural thing to do," said Persson, who joined friend, fellow countryman and physical therapist Ulrik Olsson to form Two Swedes Glögg in 2013. "You smell it, and it immediately brings back memories of Christmas and Christmas markets, especially for people who've ever lived or been stationed in Germany."
Spiced wine predates Europe as-we-know-it by centuries, though, and likely originated - and was spread cross-culturally - by peripatetic Romans in the first century.
"Eventually every country started making a variation of it," said Persson, whose home nation tipples with parties, special evenings and meetings organized around the drink, often combining it with raisins, almonds and "lussekatter," a spiced sweet bun baked to celebrate St. Lucia Day on Dec. 13.
Glögg can be served cold but most often is warmed. Like German "gluhwein," the name is derived from a word meaning "glow," like the embers over which it steeps. The drink is illuminating on a cellular level, as well.
"The heat and alcohol open up your blood vessels and warm your cheeks and stomach," he said.
Each fall, the two Swedes - Persson and Olsson, who lives in Grand Junction - meet in Vail, the halfway point between their homes. There, they create their glögg in 12-gallon batches, using primarily Colorado-sourced ingredients. A weekend of production yields 30 cases of "spiced and supercharged wine," for sale in bottles at select Front Range liquor stores.
Persson recommends glögg be served in a small mug, heated in a stovetop pan or in the microwave to a spirited warm but never a boil.
"It starts burning off some of the alcohol and flavor," he said. "Plus, it's too hot to drink."
Sample Two Swedes Glögg Thursday at a Winter Solstice party at Trails End Taproom, 3103 W. Colorado Ave. Trailsendtaproom.com