I recently attended a performance of “A Playhouse Family Christmas” at the Prospect Theatre, with Grizz, Frizz, Santa, elves, penguins, toy soldiers, Jack Frost and many other characters on stage.
The audience was treated to one Christmas carol after the next, and it was a fantastic evening out. If you didn’t go this year, book for next year. Trust me, it really is a wonderful show for the whole family.
One of the things that enhanced the theater’s festive decor was the mulled wine they were selling at the bar. I hadn’t had mulled wine in ages, and as corny as it sounds, it really is Christmas in a glass. The citrus, cloves and spices all mix in with the hot wine to give it a wonderful smell and flavor. There’s just something so comforting and merry about it all at once.
After a few sips, I resolved to make some myself this year. The recipes for mulled wine and another classic Christmas drink – eggnog – are very simple to follow, using ingredients you may already have in the house.
There are loads of different recipes on the Internet and of course you can tweak them as you see fit. Here are two examples that can be whipped up in no time.
Mary Berry’s Mulled Wine
- 1 large orange
- 3 lemons
- 12 cloves
- 2 satsumas or clementines
- 2 x 750ml bottles red wine
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5½ oz caster sugar
Carefully peel the zest very thinly from the orange and lemons using a vegetable peeler. Squeeze out the juice and reserve.
Stick the cloves into the satsumas.
Pour the wine, 2 pints of cold water, and the citrus peel and juices into a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the clove-studded satsumas and cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture just to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, cover the pan with the lid, and continue to simmer for about 1 hour.
Stir in the sugar gradually during cooking, until the mulled wine is sweetened to your liking (you may not need all of the sugar).
Strain the mulled wine and serve hot in cups.
Amazingly Good Eggnog
- 4 cups milk
- 5 whole cloves
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 12 egg yolks
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2½ cups light rum
- 4 cups light cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
Combine milk, cloves, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.
In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow it to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.
Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.