Grolle di Savoie

This stuff has made an appearance on this website elsewhere you may recall, though previously it was as ‘Grog’ not ‘Grolle’ thanks to having been consumed in the German part of Switzerland.

The wooden drinking vessel is a must in my eyes, and, as a trip to an everyday supermarket in Bourg St Maurice proved, in Alpine parts, they’re not that hard to come by.

The other must is a drinking party of at least four. The rules of the Grolle game dictate that it must be passed around from person to person, and not put down on the table until it’s finished if the year is to bring good luck. For just two people the burden of having to drink a whole tub of this stuff may become too much – so stick to four or more so as not to tempt fate!.

It would be a bit much to pretend that the below is a ‘recipe’ as such, but think of it as guidance in raiding the liquor cabinet. The more antique the liquor cabinet the better I find when it comes to concocting this sort of thing, as the sweeter, stronger, and more obscure liquors tend to work best. 

So, forage for any:

Eau de Vie

Strong White Rum




Have on hand:

  • Strong coffee
  • Granulated sugar
  • One orange – zest and juice
  • One lemon – zest only
  • Some cloves
  • A cinnamon stick
  • A lighter or matches

Working to an approximately two thirds/one third ratio between coffee and spirits, heat some freshly brewed coffee in a small saucepan along with two tablespoons of granulated sugar, the cloves, the cinnamon stick, the zest of the orange and lemon, as well as the juice of the orange. Stir to dissolve the sugar and let the flavours infuse over a medium heat for 5 minutes.

Now for the booze. It’s largely up to you, but I’d suggest making up a mixture of eau de vie, rum, and kirsch or génépy in approximately equal measures, (to make together approximately half the volume of the coffee).

Add the spirits first to the wooden Grolle pot, and then pour in the coffee mixture through a strainer to extract the cinnamon and cloves.

Sprinkle some sugar around the rim of the Grolle pot, and then carefully drizzle a little of the highest alcohol percentage liquor you have on hand over the sugar.

Then grab a match, and set the sugar alight. It should burn a blue flame, and will do so only briefly, but the drama is worth it!

Pass the Grolle around while it’s warm and hope it makes it from hand to hand without being put down. Best of luck!