Festive Booze

By Jack Deacon

With the cuts and cold weather kicking in, now’s as good a time as ever to turn to alcohol.

Mulled Wine

Here are some quick recipes to try at home:

Mulled wine
Serves 4 -6
– 1 apple
– 8 cloves
– 1 lemon
– 3 cinnamon sticks
– 8 oz (225g) light brown sugar
– 3 pints (1.75 l) red wine
– ¼ pint (150ml) brandy
– Lemon slices to serve

1. Cut the apple into four and stud with cloves
2. Remove the zest from the lemon
3. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Simmer for two minutes – no longer as this drives off the alcohol
4. Strain and serve hot with slices of lemon

Serves 6
– 1 bottle full-bodied vegetarian red wine
– 1 orange
– 16 cloves
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 4 split cardamom pods
– 2” fresh root ginger
– 4-6 tbsp sugar
– 200ml brandy (optional but recommended!)

1. Pour the wine into a large saucepan
2. Cut the orange into quarters and push cloves into the rind of one quarter
3. Slice the remaining three pieces thinly
4. Add the orange quarter and slices to the pan with the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and sugar
5. Heat slowly until hot, but do not allow to boil, then add the brandy
6. Serve in heatproof glasses or small cups. If you are worried about the glass breaking, stand a metal teaspoon in the glass before adding the hot liquid

Silesian Punch
Serves 8-10
– 6oz/175g sugar
– ½ pint/300ml water
– Twist of orange rind
– Twist of lemon rind
– 1-2 short sticks cinnamon
– 4 cloves
– 1 bottle white whine
– 1 bottle red wine
– 3 wine glasses brandy

1. Put the sugar, water, orange and lemon rind and spices in a saucepan and heat
2. Stir until the sugar dissolves
3. Simmer for 5 minutes to develop the scents
4. Tip in the white and red wine and the brandy
5. Heat gently until bubbles start to rise
6. Remove from the heat and serve with a ladle, avoiding bits and pieces

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