The festive markets have arrived in Manchester, and that means one thing; Christmas is finally upon us. What makes you feel the most Christmassy? Perhaps it the twinkling lights that illuminate your hometown, or knitted jumpers, or mince pies? For us, there is only one answer, and that is a steaming cup of mulled wine.
If you have ever been to the Manchester Christmas markets, or any Christmas markets for that matter, you will know that one of the highlights is a cup of authentic German Gluhwein in an adorable mug. If you haven’t had a chance to try it, please don’t be put off because of the price at the Christmas Markets; it includes a £2 deposit for the vessel it is served in. Do with that what you will with that, it doesn’t matter where you go in Manchester, we can guarantee that every cupboard will have a Christmas market mug of some vintage. And, £2 for a mug is pretty good going, G has one which 2015. Remember that year? Madness.
It should indeed be on your bucket list to enjoy a cup under the glittery lights of Albert Square, but you can cook some up for yourself. It makes a refreshing tipple to enjoy by the fire on Christmas Eve, and a fabulous way to spice up, quite literally, your nights in with the girls. The essential ingredient is a light red wine like a Pinot Noir, Cotes de Rhone or Zinfandel. Sugar is added alongside a plethora of mulling spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel seeds, star anise, cloves, cardamom and ginger. Every recipe you will see will vary on these spices and can often make them somewhat unique in flavour. Citrus fruit is always a must when it comes to mulled wine, and nothing smells more like Christmas than orange peel. If you are feeling extra naughty, you can add a dash of brandy for an extra kick.
Below you will find T’s recipe, but as we have said, it is really up to you and your personal tastes so feel free to play around with the spice levels to suit your palate. Boil everything together, and make sure you leave it to cool slightly before pouring into glasses, as boiling liquid will break the glass… we had to learn that the hard way. Always keeping things real for you guys over here at Ginseng & Thyme HQ, we’re human too (much as we like to pretend otherwise!)
The festive season has officially begun, and we hope you are ready!
See you next Thursday,
2 Bottles of light red wine
120g soft brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 orange, sliced with the peel intact
2 tsp. brandy
Pour all the ingredients into a large, heavy-based saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Put over a medium-low heat and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to low and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.