With the first batch of mulled apple juice going on last week, and the house gently filling with that scent of festive spices, it was only a matter of time before I wrote about a good ole’ mull here.
Mulled drinks, and if we’re being specific wine, is an ancient Roman drink that spread across the Roman Empire. It was popularised throughout the Victorian period, and for me that festive taste places me right between the pages of a Charles Dickens novel to the cobbled streets of London on a snowy evening. Originally the natural spices and herbs were used medicinally and meant to remove the bitterness of the wine and making it more palatable, but I think wine has come a long way since then!
This particular recipe is my mum’s. For as long as I can remember, coming home from school and smelling a pan of our family recipe mulled apple juice (children friendly, of course!) marked the beginning of winter and shortening days.
The recipe I’m going to describe for you here is for apple juice which is my favourite of all the mulled drinks, however the spices for mulling work perfectly for other juices such as cranberry, grape, cider, wine, and black tea too!
Ingredients – – –
- 1 tsp Powdered Allspice
- A Cinnamon Stick
- 1 tsp Powdered Cinnamon
- 1-2 Cloves per drink
- Grated Nutmeg
- 1-2 Star Anise
- 1-2 Dried Juniper Berries
- A dash of Dried Ginger Root
- Grated Orange Peel for soaking
- 1 Sliced Apple for soaking
- 1/2 Carton of Apple Juice (or cider, or wine, or anything you like really)
This recipe makes one small pan full.
Its a bit of a handful buying all those ingredients, but well worth it as they will all last for years and retain fresh flavours. Plus, plenty more recipes on this blog use them, so consider it an investment!
Fill the pan with a comfortable amount of the apple juice, or your chosen drink. Turn the heat on the hob to your lowest setting, and let it warm up slowly whilst you prepare the mulling spices.
Grate the nutmeg and the orange peel. Mix in with the cinnamon, allspice and ginger root. If using fresh ginger, grate first, otherwise dried has just as poignant taste. Add together with the cloves, juniper berries, star anise. If you are straining each cup as you pour it from the pan, you can add all the ingredients to your pan of apple juice as they are. Alternatively, if using a small empty tea bag you can place the cinnamon, all spice, cloves and ginger to the bag and the rest loose. It doesn’t really make a difference, this tastes amazing regardless.
Finally, slice your apple decoratively, and add it alongside the star anise and juniper berries in the pan loose. I’m going to be honest with you, besides having delicious tastes they are the most aesthetic ingredients and deserve to simmer on the top of the pan proudly. Finally, add the cinnamon stick to stir!
Leave on a low heat for as long as you can last! The longer, the sweeter and stronger the taste will grow. The smell this recipe makes whilst it is cooking is its real show stopper however. I often make a batch of this in the morning not to touch it till the evening, if I can stand it to wait that long before finishing it all. If you’re careful not to leave it on a constant heat, this drink can sit for up to 24 hours, and heated up each time you’d like a new mug of it. Just don’t let it boil!
So there you have it! A recipe I’ve been dying to share. Well, perhaps not literally dying but you’ll thank me when you know you’ve got this to look forward to after a long way at work. Nothing gets me through the minefield that is a commute on a busy train in flu season like this recipe! And hey, you never know. Maybe our distant relatives who drank this as a medicinal drink were onto something, as I’ve not been ill yet this year!