The fire's lit, the kitchen's cosy, and the jumpers are out. It really is the most wonderful time of the year…
And what's our favourite way to celebrate winter? With a mug full of something warm and mulled!
From Bonfire Night through to New Year's, mulled cider, wine, or juice (if you're keeping things alcohol free) is a real winner - and couldn't be simpler to rustle up from scratch, either.
Mulling your drink is simple: gently heat your base of choice with some warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and star anise, and some fruity aromatics like orange peels and lemon zest. If you're making mulled wine, you might want to add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to keep it sweet. You can also add some orange juice if making wine or cider to lower the alcohol content and bolster the sweetness.
Here's a basic combination to try. For every litre of wine, cider or juice, add:
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ½tsp cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 vanilla pod, split in two lengthways
- 8-10 gratings of nutmeg
- 4 strips orange peel, made with a vegetable peeler
- 2 strips lemon peel, made with a vegetable peeler
Once it's heated, ladle into mugs (or other heatproof containers) and serve. Don't worry about fishing out the spices and peel - they add to the warming, festive feel. Just make sure your guests know they're in there to avoid any choking hazards!
If you don't have whole cloves, star anise and all the other spices and flavours already stocked in your pantry - have no fear! Our handy mulling spices kit contains everything you need in the perfect ratios to give your festive tipple a spicy kick. Simply empty your wine, cider or juice into a large saucepan, tip in the mulling spices and gently stir over a low heat until hot (but not boiling).
Or, if you fancy something really fuss-free, our award-winning spiced mulled wine comes in a 2.25L wine box (it's just been ranked number 1 mulled wine by Good Housekeeping!) making it perfect for parties. Empty into a saucepan (or microwave in mugs) for mulled wine in an instant!
After you've made mulled wine once, you can play around with flavour profiles to suit your taste. We like adding a vanilla pod, split in half, to ours, or a couple of bay leaves!