I went to Lübeck a few weeks ago with a group of friends. This little German town is famous for its Christmas markets, and it is truly magical walking through the historic streets, in the snow, surrounded by friends and with a glass of mulled wine in your hand. However, after a weekend in good company, and therefore with a little bit too much mulled wine (if ya catch ma drift), I really struggle with the thought of another glass of the stuff. As I am not willing to give up boozy, warm drinks at Christmas time in general, I thought it was necessary to come up with an alternative.
I made 2 bottles of this heavenly drink, and will be bringing them for my family to enjoy together on the night before Christmas Eve. We have a tradition of meeting up to eat rice pudding and play games, and I thought this mulled apple juice would be an ideal addition to the night. I made it with homemade apple juice, as I am always a bit worried about the amount of sugar in the shop bought stuff, but if you don’t have a juicer you can easily used pre-made. Just get a good quality one. If you are juicing your own however, safe the pulp by freezing it down and watch this space for a recipe using it.
Have a great and magical Christmas everybody, and remember to not get caught up in the stress of it. Just enjoy the time you get to spend with your family, and if something goes wrong in the kitchen or the tree looks funny, laugh it off and remember what really matters is the people you surround yourself with and the memories you are creating.
4 kilos of apples (or 2 litres of apple juice)
4 pods of cardamom
6 black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anis
5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 thick slices of ginger
80 grams of dried cranberries
Sugar to taste
1. Juice the apples. Get rid of any impurities by pouring it through a clean cloth. Pour into a big pot.
2. Add all the dry ingredients (except the cranberries) to the juice.
3. Add 1 slice of ginger, vinegar and sugar to taste.
4. Heat to the boil. Take it off the heat and leave it with the spices for about 2 hours.
5. When the juice has cooled, grate the other slice of ginger and squeeze it between 2 spoons so only the juice of it goes in the pot.
6. Drain the juice through a sieve to get rid of the bits.
7. Bottle the mulled juice until you need it.
8. Heat the juice in a pan again. Add Calvados until you think its tasty.
9. Pour over the cranberries in heatproof glasses and serve.