Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Hot drinks for christmas: mulled wine, cider and gin

As another big freeze envelopes Britain, promising a white Christmas, hooray! one's thoughts turn to hot toddies, just the thing when you come in from work to a heated bright house, or to nurse on the sofa, warming your hands, or lend an instant holiday vibe to dinner.
mulled wine

Mulled wine.

I sold this at The Underground Christmas Market, some guests said it was the best they've ever had. I give my recipe below but I must admit, I've had the present batch on the go on the black enamel of the Aga for several weeks. Every time I walk past I sling in the remnants of a bottle of booze, a few cloves, a handful of sugar or another stick of cinnamon. Last weekend I added the leftovers of my carmelised kumquats. It's a flexible alcoholic stew!

2 bottles of red wine
2 oranges sliced 
250g kumquats
2 sticks cinnamon
3 cloves
1 star anise
300g sugar (any kind)

Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and heat through. Once you've finished the wine you can add more wine, just check the balance of sugar to wine and keep going!
mulled cider

Harvest cider

I did this for my Little House on the Prairie dinner, again, as it was snowing outside, this glowing drink as guests entered made for a hospitable atmosphere. There is a similar British version traditionally drunk at this time of year called Wassail which uses ale rather than cider.

4 litres of apple juice
4 litres of cider
450g of dark brown sugar
8 sticks of cinnamon
1 bottle of Jack Daniels or Southern Comfort or grain alcohol.

Boil up the apple juice, cider, sugar and cinnamon. Let it cool then stir in the grain alcohol. Warm again and serve.
mulled gin

Hot Gin

This is a simple version of Charles Dickins' Gin Punch.

1 bottle gin
750ml hot water
One lemon cut into thin slices 
Stud the lemon slices with cloves
2 or 3 all spice berries
300g of sugar

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and warm. 

Mix ingredients together, drink.


  1. I had your mulled wine at the Underground Christmas Market and it was divine. So happy to have the recipe.

  2. Inspiring. I'm hosting a Christmas get together next week, and have bookmarked these drinks recipes in prep.

  3. Thanks Hiromi and Laura!
    Hiromi, will see you tomorrow night where you can have some more!


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