Soak raisins in the aquavit (a Norwegian liquor made with potatoes and caraway seeds), brandy or vodka for 30 minutes.
Put water and sugar into a large pot over high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Lower the heat to medium and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom seeds, orange peel, and ginger. Stir. No boiling!
Add the aquavit (or brandy or vodka) and raisins, burgundy or pinot noir wine, and port.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and garnish with raisins and slices of blanched almonds.
Note: This recipe can be made a day in advance. Just keep it covered at room temperature and reheat before serving.