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.

mulling syrup

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.

Ingredients
Makes approx 300ml

300ml water
300g sugar
3-4 strips of lemon rind
3-4 strips of orange rind
6 cardamom pods
4 cloves
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.

mulling syrup