The period of Twixtmas has a slow moving charm.
There’s not much to do if you have the time off. There’s eating, drinking, TV, sales shopping, visiting relatives, taking long baths, reading books, trying not to kill the kids, taking brisk walks…basically there’s lots of time to do nothing.
And the perfect drink to go with doing nothing is mulled wine. As long as you’re not driving. Always drink responsibly, obvs.
My recipe is super easy. You can make a pan on the hob and keep it there on a low back burner all day. It can also be used to make punch or a quite delicious cold cocktail. It’s pretty cheap and doesn’t require any particular equipment.
You will need – a box of red wine (you decide what type – but I usually go for cheapest); a cup of sugar (I advise demarara or golden caster); 2 cinnamon sticks; 2 nutmeg seeds; 2 bay leaves; 2 or 3 cloves and one orange – cut into quarters.
Put the red wine, spices and orange quarters into a pan and warm gradually – until you see the liquid roll. Add the sugar and reduce heat to a minimum. Stir until sugar dissolves. Leave it for around 30 minutes with a lid on. In this time the spices should infuse and the sugar should make even the most revolting vintage taste palatable. Even so, when the wine cools enough to be tasted, you may need to add sugar again.
After that, you can drink it – but I usually let it mull for about an hour more before I serve it. Put it in cups or mugs. Don’t fish out the spices – just make sure they don’t land in anyone’s mug. If you want to be lazy, use strong paper cups – but please double up.
For a little variation, wait until it cools then mix half and half with apple juice (to make a sweet punch), ginger ale or soda water. Mixing with soda water gives a really light, refreshing spritzer actually. It’s quite delightful. Put it in a tall glass and add ice.
Anyway, help yourself to the recipe. Go crazy and enjoy a delightful mellow haze until you return to work. I will be making a big pot for Child 2’s birthday party tomorrow.