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Firstly, the most obvious: Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is a delicious winter drink, which has been around for hundreds of years in the UK. I think it’s had a comeback with the popularity of German Christmas markets, where ‘Gluhwein’ is served to cold customers wandering around the streets in the middle of winter. So then, we call it ‘Mulled wine’, the Germans and Austrians call it ‘Gluhwein’, and the Nordick countries call it ‘Glogg’.
There are different takes on this drink but on the whole it usually contains the following ingredients: base of red wine, with cloves, sugar, cinnamon, orange, etc. It is served warm and in winter.
Whilst I was away on my travels I enjoyed a different take on Mulled Wine in a Northern mountainous region of Vietnam, called SaPa. In SaPa they have various local wines, but the most tasty I tried was a mulled wine which was a warm red wine with a few fruity and spicy flavours (normal so far you think) but what I could make out that was different and really made it was chilli. I’m not sure how they made it unfortunately, but I would suggest slicing a chilli and placing it in the wine whilst it heats. Chilli powder would not give the same effect I think. It was so delicious. I wish I asked to see how it was made.
Anyway, back to Britain: Mulled Wine has proved so popular that supermarkets actually sell it pre-mulled so all you have to do is heat. After years of trial and error, this is something I’ve taken to as you at least know what you’re going to get.
If you fancy giving it a go here are some recipes to try out:
Or a middle way would be to buy the wine and a sachet of mulling spices: as you can always improvise a little with fresh orange segments to make it look more authentic. Schwartz do a pack which is sold in various supermarkets.
I suggest serving mulled wine in Christmas mugs with German ginger biscuits called ‘lebkuchen’.
I normally dislike cider, but it turns out the mulled kind is lovely. I had this recently at a pub where they sold it with an extra shot of ginger wine. It was fab-u-lous. The ginger and the apple went well together and left your whole body feeling warm and cosy.
You can also make this yourself using these recipes:
Or consider making mulled apple juice as a non-alcoholic alternative.
Ginger wine is becoming more prominent on shelves nowadays too, Sainsbury’s is selling the alcoholic kind for around £4, and you can buy the non-alcoholic kind in Holland and Barretts too.
It’s a lovely kick on its own served in a –small– glass.
A Snowball is Advocaat mixed with Lemonade. This is a cocktail I’ve had round a family friend’s house at Christmas for years. As its not too strong you can give a little to older children (with adult supervision).
I also sometimes have Advocaat on its own in a small glass -its make with eggs sugar and brandy -probably similar to Eggnog. I have not tried eggnog but this is something I would probably like as I just love Advocaat.
Spiced Hot Chocolate
You can buy this in various mixes. I like the ones produced by Whittard’s -such as their Chilli Hot Chocolate or Winter Warmer.
You can also make some yourself: check out these guys from Sorted Food for a thick tasty version.
Another option is to have it with a little bit of Baileys.
Whenever we visited my grandparents up North we’d have this drink. My sister and I would get into our ‘jammies’ (pyjamas) whilst the grown-ups made our Horlicks, and we’d sit in the living room sipping them before bed. The taste and smell takes me back to those times. It’s the most comforting drink ever. And a perfect milky drink to make you feel ready for bed. It apparently also contains good stuff (certainly in the traditional version) so it’s good to give to your little ones (or yourself) this during the cold winter months.
Horlicks doesn’t just taste great; one mug contains 12 essential vitamins and minerals and is a rich source of Vitamin D – an essential aid to calcium absorption