Christmas Special

Hot & Spicy Cocktails

All Things Festive
Serve these beautiful, boozy, hot winter drinks during the Christmas season.

Mixed Berries Mulled Wine

A fruity twist on the traditional mulled wine. To be enjoyed by a roaring fire with friends.

1 large orange
125g  caster sugar
6 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
2 bottles fruity red wine
50ml brandy
200g mixed berries

Pare the zest off the orange in thin strips and squeeze the juice. Place the orange zest and juice in a large saucepan with the sugar, spices and vanilla pod, adding barely enough red wine to cover the ingredients. Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil. Boil rapidly until the wine has reduced and become syrupy. Add the rest of the wine, brandy and the mixed berries. Gently simmer for two minutes, do not boil. Serve in heatproof glasses. Serves 8-10 

Which Wine?

Since mulling wine disguises a lot of the nuances of taste, avoid delicate flavored wines such as pinot noir. Go for the bigger, bolder, full-bodied red wines (like Syrah and Malbec). There is no point spending a huge amount of cash on wine for mulled wine. Opt for the cheaper bottle – without feeling scrooge-like.

Hot Chocolate Wine

Combining two of our favourite beverages into the same mug makes for a Merry Christmas indeed.

80g cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons white sugar
1ltr reduced-fat milk
240ml fruity, dry red wine, such as merlot or shiraz

Whisk cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Add 60ml milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking often, for about 3 minutes. (Do not bring to a simmer.) Remove from heat and stir in wine. Serve in large mugs. Serves 6-8

Did You Know?

It was the Mayans who discovered that grinding cocoa beans and mixing with water produces a pleasantly bitter drink. However only the nobility were entitled to its restorative and aphrodisiac powers. Make like a queen, enjoy.

Warm apple cider with spices

This toasty drink is the perfect accompaniment to a roaring fire
on a cold, winter evening.

3.5 litres apple cider
30g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
Pinch grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 orange
Cinnamon sticks, for garnish
500 ml bourbon, optional
Some large apples
Lemon juice

Add the apple cider to a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a low boil. Cover the entire orange with the cloves, sticking the pointy ends of the cloves into the orange so that just the buds of the cloves are visible. Add the orange to the cider and reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and continue cooking for 20 minutes.  For the apple cups, use a knife to cut off the top of the apples. Then take a paring knife and carefully outline where you’d like the rim of your apple cup to be. Use a spoon or melon baller to begin scooping out the centre of your apple until you have a nice cup.  Once you have the inside of the apples hollowed out, brush a little lemon juice over the inside to prevent browning. Take the cider off the heat and serve in apple cups with a cinnamon stick garnish. For some extra kick, add some bourbon to the cider. Serves 12