It used to be that, as a non-drinker, your options were water or a coke in most places. Maybe a lemonade if you were lucky. Things have improved hugely, though, and most bars and restaurants have a wide range of grown-up soft drinks these days, such as elderflower tonic water or rose lemonade or lemongrass and ginger, which makes things much more interesting. In NZ you can get a sparkling feijoa drink that is so ridiculously good I look for it everywhere when I’m there, and the only reason I haven’t lugged some back with me is because I’m fairly sure bottles and luggage don’t mix.
However, one place where things don’t seem to have changed much is the Christmas market. There’ll be twelve stalls selling mulled wine, a couple with mulled cider, and the rest of us are relegated to hot chocolate of varying degrees of palatability. And while I like hot chocolate, I don’t like it that often.
And so, mulled apple juice. Because it’s wonderfully tasty, and a great option to have on hand for the non-drinkers and designated drivers among your guests.
- 1 L / 2 pints apple juice (I prefer cloudy)
- four or five slices of fresh ginger
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 4 cloves
- a generous grating of nutmeg
- several strips of orange zest
Combine all of the above in a saucepan and heat until steaming gently. Keep it warm as is, and sieve to order, or give it at least 10 minutes before sieving and serving.
That’s it! You can of course adjust the spices to suit your personal tastes. I won’t be upset.
A Toot Hansell Christmas Cracker recipe collection:
- Rose’s Rom Truffles
- Christmas Pudding Cupcakes
- Homity Pies
- Amaretti Espresso Biscuits
- Christmas Breakfast Muffins
- Welsh Rarebit
- Cranberry, Wensleydale & Walnut No-Knead Bread
- Yorkshire Puddings
- Dragon-Friendly Mincemeat
- Mincemeat Sticky Buns
- Almond, Orange, & Cranberry Cake