Tis the season for mulled wine! It’s a smell that just screams Christmas, but not being a wine drinker (much to my parents’ dismay) means I usually miss out on this festive flavour. However, I have noticed a few coffee shops now do some form of spiced fruit juice as an alternative, one of which I tried and immediately decided that this would now be my festive drink of choice! I also decided that I wanted to try making my own, as it seemed like a straight forward enough combination of flavours to recreate, and I imagined it would make the house smell pretty damn good too. As with my baking method, I scanned through some recipes online and picked out elements from a few that appealed most to me (quick, easy, no ginger etc) and then made it up as I went along…
You will need:
1 litre Apple Juice
1/2 litre Cranberry Juice
Dash/glug to taste of Orange Juice
2 (or more) cups of water
Fresh cranberries (optional, mostly for decoration and you’ll only need a few but they’re in a lot of festive recipes so could come in handy!)
1 large saucepan
A glass of some sort
Optional: vodka/rum/spirit of choice
- Pour your juices and water into your pan. If you have a hob that takes a while to heat up then I’d suggest turning it on now so it can be warming up slowly while you prep the rest.
- Take a few cloves (I used maybe ten… and then picked a few out as I went along as I realised I only really wanted a hint of the spice, not being a huge clove fan!) and stick them into the skin of one of your oranges. Memories of school Christingle services anyone?
- Take your other orange and peel most of the skin off in strips. Add the peel, a couple of cinnamon sticks and your clove filled orange to the juice mix in the pan.
- If you haven’t already, now’s the time to put on the heat. Not too high, you don’t want it boiling, just steaming nicely.
- Add a good sprinkling of ground cinnamon, if you love it as much as I do, and a couple of dessert spoons of brown sugar and stir in to help it dissolve.
- Heat for 10-20 minutes, enjoying the incredible Christmassy smell now wafting through your house and tasting at intervals. If you find it too intense, try adding some more water to make it less concentrated. If its too tart (cranberry juices vary in how sweetened they are) then add more sugar.
- Once you’re happy with the taste and its nice and hot, take it off the heat and ladle into your glass (or glasses if you’re being super nice and sharing it). Include some peel and a cinnamon stick in each, and add a few cranberries for extra festive flourish. Any left over can be allowed to cool and then stored in the fridge.
- If you’re adding a bit of cheeky festive spirit (pun intended) then you can either add a measure to it now while its still a winter warmer, or you can make this in advance and put it in the fridge to turn it into a chilled mixer. You could even pop your cranberries in an ice cube tray, top up with mulled juice and voila: sophisticated ice cubes that won’t water your drink down!