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This week the Hopleaf reported on its web site that there would be no more glogg served at the bar, due to the passing of the colorful Hans Gotling, who used to own it when it was called Clark Fosters Liquor. Hopleaf owner Michael Roper, who bought the bar in 1992 from Gotling, said he'd usually get a call each year around September from the old man asking him to order ingredients, but not this year.
Gotling didn't actually mass produce the spicy mulled holiday wine in the back of the bar anymore, though he batched some up for insiders. Years ago, "Hans was giving away free samples on folding tables out in front of Wikstrom's delicatessen," says Roper. "And then if people liked it they could go in and buy some. Except Wikstrom's doesn't have a liquor license." The city cracked down a few years ago, so Gotling sold the recipe to a Minnesota distillery that bottled it, put his name and picture on it, and sold it legit through liquor stores. But Gotling wasn't in it for the money. The Sun-Times published his recipe last year and he gave it to whoever asked. "In the old days he had a mimeograph machine and he would give people copies on how to make it themselves," says Roper. "He gave away lot of bottles. He was the precinct captain so it was kind of a political thing. That's also why he never got busted. He would always take a couple cases over to the precinct for the police officers and he'd take some to the fire station."
When Gotling took ill, the distillery stopped production, and the Hopleaf exhausted its supply early last season. Roper says they carried on the tradition because Gotling owned the bar for 35 years, and still made it in the back after he'd sold out. But Roper, a Maltese who owns a Belgian pub, doesn't plan to continue it. "I'm not Swedish," he says. Besides, "It's a smelly messy thing to make. It's a lot of work and we just decided not to do it."
Of course that doesn't mean the end of glogg in Andersonville. Scott Martin of Simon's Tavern continues to make it every year.