Christmas doesn’t officially start for my friends and I until we have bundled our way into a cosy pub and wrapped our frozen fingers around a steaming glass of mulled wine or cider.
This is a great way to recreate that feeling at home without having to brave the cold or battle your way through the supermarket to find the ready-made stuff.
If you have any pretty bottles it also makes a nice gift and an alternative to those little sachets of spices that you can always find for sale in gourmet food shops at this time of year.
Makes approx 300ml
3-4 strips of lemon rind
3-4 strips of orange rind
6 cardamom pods
4 allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick
Dissolve the sugar in the water using a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle bubble and leave for 5 minutes, or thereabouts. Add the spices, orange and lemon and leave to bubble away for a further 10-15 minutes until the liquid has become a pale golden colour.
Leave to cool at room temperature and then store in a sterilized jar or bottle. If possible leave this to fully infuse with Christmassy flavours for a few weeks before straining out the spices and peel and pouring into pretty bottles for gifts.
Mix with hot red wine, cider or apple juice to taste, a couple of tablespoons of syrup per 250ml of wine is usually about right but it’s really up to you.