I am a huge fan of mulled wine – any excuse to have a warming mug-full and I’m there! On Friday evening, while putting up our Christmas decorations, we enjoyed this spicy ready-made version from Tesco (I know it’s easy to make your own but we were rather busy making the tree look beautiful!)
I won’t harp on about the joys of mulled wine like I did last year, but I will suggest some alternatives for those who aren’t as keen on the tipple as I am.
This recipe, adapted from BBC Food, is a winner for me:
Ingredients (serves 8-10)
– 2l dry cider or fresh apple juice
– 2 apples studded with cloves
– 4-6 cinnamon sticks
– 1tsp all spice
– zest of 1 orange
– dash of dark rum (optional)
– slices of apple for garnish
Mix all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer gently for 30 minutes – do not boil. Serve with apple slices in glass mugs. Simple!
If mulling isn’t your thing, try Healey’s Classic Oak Matured Cyder. This oak aged cyder is just on the fence between sweet and dry and leaves a lingering fruity finish. More complex than your average Magners, this has a somewhat festive feel. Available to buy online for £4.34 per bottle.
I love ginger whether it’s in cakes, biscuits, drinks, stir fries… the possibilities are endless… so when I was sent various samples of ginger wine, both alcoholic and non, I was excited to give them a try!
Gran Stead’s ‘Light and Fiery’ ginger wine
Light this is not, fiery (cough) it is! Despite its punchy finish, I loved this drink. It would be the perfect alternative to whisky for scotch lovers, or a great mixer to accompany scotch. Not for the faint hearted, but definitely worth a try. Gran Stead’s drinks are available online and from various stockists throughout the UK.
Stone’s ginger wine
This is made from a centuries-old recipe and is a traditional favourite at Christmas in my house. With a richer, more mellow taste than the non-alcoholic ginger from Gran Stead’s, Stone’s Ginger Wine Special Reserve (£6.99 in Waitrose), with raisins and ground ginger would go down a treat with a mince pie on Christmas Eve. I’ll be adding a dash to my Christmas ginger cake ingredients this year.
The fruity option
Shloer berry punch
This is a little sweet and concentrated for my liking (dilute with sparkling water to make it go further) but if you usually enjoy a crisp, cool rosé, pour Shloer’s berry punch over slices of pear for a sparkling and fruity alcohol-free alternative. Shloer is available in various flavours for £2.29 from most large supermarkets. The berry punch is a limited edition so you’ll have to be quick!