Winter Warmers: Hot Mulled Cider

 I’m not an alcoholic. Let me just get that out of the way before you jump to conclusions. And I know that those conclusions would be pretty easy to jump to seeing as all my Winter Warmer posts so far have featured some sort of alcoholic beverage – Frangelico Hot Chocolate, Mulled Wine, now Hot Mulled Cider. But fear not! This drink has such a small amount of alcohol that you are really drinking it for that deep, rich, sweet-like-honey taste that comes from mulling. And if you read my last two posts hoping to see a nice warming alcoholic drink to see you through winter, don’t be disappointed because you can easily alcoholify this one. Just read on!

I first made this recipe with sparkling apple juice after I had tried a delicious mulled apple juice at Sappho Cafe on Glebe Point Road. Being still on my Green P Plates, I can’t have any alcohol at all if i’m going to be driving, so this drink was warming, fragrant and allowed me to imagine I was drinking cider (even if I actually wasn’t!)

So I tried to re-create it at home. Now, when I went on the hunt for a good mulled wine recipe there were millions and millions. When I went looking for mulled cider, there were barely any! How can this be?! The ones I did find were very confusing and seemed to have every spice under the sun in them. Not convinced that these concoctions would give me something actually enjoyable to drink, I decided to try my own (fairly simple) recipe with just a few spices that I knew would be delicious, warming and fragrant. And it went a little something like this…

1. Place 3-4 tbsp brown sugar, 15 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks and a vanilla bean in a saucepan and cover with a little cider or sparkling apple juice

2. Bring to the boil and leave for five minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has reduced slightly

3. Pour in the rest of the cider or apple juice and leave to heat through at a low heat for at least 30 mins. I like to leave it for at least an hour, pretty much the longer the better. The longer you leave it, the deeper in colour your cider will be and the richer the flavour. When you leave it for an hour or more, it is like drinking a little sip of heaven. I kid you not.

As the cider is so low in alcohol to begin with, even with the heat turned down really low I think that most of the alcohol would have gone by the time you drink this. If you’re not convinced and you need to drive or just don’t feel like boozing it up you can just go for the sparkling apple juice to begin with. Definitely no alcohol in that! If you are going to make a night of it and want to add a little more warmth to your drink, you can add a shot of bourbon or your liqour of choice.

Look at that baby. Deep, golden nectar of the gods.

And if you drink it watching something amazing like Offspring, you might just slip into a coma of warmth and happiness.

How easy is that? Five ingredients, three steps. The only drawback is that as a side effect of mulling your cider for longer, it does reduce the yield. Out of the 1L of cider that you begin with, you might end up with three decent sized glasses. If you want to make this for a big group of people, you will need to multiple the recipe a few times. Don’t worry, it’s totally worth it.

So, my lovelies, what else are you doing to keep you warm? Its pretty damn cold at the moment!

Hot Mulled Cider Recipe


1L cider or sparkling apple juice

3-4 tbsp brown sugar

15 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthways

** optional – 1 shot per glass of bourbon or liquor of your choice


1.Place sugar, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla bean in a large saucepan. Add enough cider to cover the sugar and place over a high heat.

2. Bring to the boil and stir for a few minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reduced a little

3. Pour in the rest of the cider/apple juice and turn the heat down to low. Leave to heat through for at least 30mins but remember – the longer you leave it, the better it will taste!

** optional, after ladling it into glasses to serve, you can add a shot of bourbon or other liquor. Go wild!

Categorized as Drinks

Winter Warmers: Mulled Wine

If you’ve been following me on instagram or twitter (or have come within 10 metres of me in real life) you will know that I’ve been nursing a lousy flu for quite a while. In fact, when I sat down yesterday to think about it, I figured i’ve pretty much been sick since the beginning of May. As Term 2 is always horrific for teachers, I haven’t been able to take much time off to get better so of course, I’m now sick in my holidays.

Part of being sick has involved a persistent and very annoying cough. I’ve tried everything. Hot water and lemon. Hot water and lemon and honey. Lots of roasted garlic. Gargling. Eucalyptus oil on my pillow. Eucalyptus steam bath. Eucalyptus on the soles of my feet. Hot showers. Cough lozenges. Codral. Benadryl. Staying warm. Hot tea. Various herbs and spices. NOTHING WORKED.

So, driven to distraction by the cough last night, I figured a bottle of red wine wouldn’t hurt. And what is better than red wine in winter? Mulled wine of course!

After inhaling the steamy aromas of this mixture, I would say to chuck the eucalyptus steam bath and just stick your head over a pot of mulled wine! Delicious!

It was a fairly simple recipe that I adapted from yet another Jamie Oliver Recipe involving some sugar, the zest of a lemon, a lime, an orange and the juice of the orange

some spices – vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves

a little bit of wine

and then a lot of wine

and a lot of drinking.

Now, I know that a lot of tweeps were very skeptical, but I can honestly say that my cough subsided after a couple of glasses of this aromatic and deeply warming elixir. Whether it was because of the mix, or just the alcohol, i’m really not sure that I care. The point is, it worked! The beauty of this drink is that it has the physical warmth of the liquid, with the added warmth of the spices. You can choose to increase or decrease the quantity/mix of spices as you see fit. I originally started with making half the amount of the Jamie Oliver recipe but have since adapted it to include more citrus and a little more cinnamon and nutmeg. Feel free to play around with it until you feel like it is right. The other thing that is good about this drink is that you can use the cheapest wine you can find and it will still be great.

So, my lovelies, what are your favourite warming spices for winter?

Mulled Wine Recipe – adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Mulled Wine Recipe


1 bottle red wine (the cheaper, the better! Feel free to use cleanskin or cask)

1 large orange

1 lemon

1 lime

125-250g caster sugar (it depends on the sweetness that you like. I quite like it with the full 250g as I like my mulled wine sweet)

4 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

1 whole nutmeg

1 vanilla bean

2 star anise


1. Peel long strips of rind from the orange, lemon and lime and place in a medium sized saucepan along with the sugar and the juice of the orange

2. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, 6 gratings of nutmeg and bay leaves

3. Cut the vanilla bean lengthways and add to the pan

4. Pour in enough wine to cover the sugar and place over a high heat. Stir frequently until the mixture boils and thickens slightly (roughly 5 mins)

5. Pour in the rest of the wine and turn the heat down to low

6. Add the star anise and leave the mixture to heat through. Make sure that you don’t heat the wine up too much or you will boil off the alcohol. And where is the fun in that?

7. ladle into glasses and serve!

Winter Warmers: Frangelico Hot Chocolate

Now, before I start with this kickass recipe that will warm your cockles this chilly winter, let me tell you a story.

On Friday I went to the Sydney Vivid Festival. Fortunately Unfortunately, as i’m quite clearly no photographer, I did not take any photos. Although the photographers were certainly out in force! I was out with my boy to take a look around at the amazing sights that Vivid had to offer, celebrate the end of a super stressful week and catch up with some friends. We found ourselves at the end of the night needing some warming coffee and cake only to find most places either shut or with an astronomical line waiting to get in. So we ended up at an obscure coffee shop in The Rocks. With two of our party ordering an Irish Coffee, I thought (with my aversion to coffee) – hey, why not make an irish hot chocolate? Normal hot chocolate with the shot of frangelico to make it extra warming and extra tasty! Simple? Yes. Opportunity for the cafe owner to price gouge? Definitely. The waitress returned apologetically to tell me that while an Irish Coffee would be $11.50, essentially the same thing but with hot chocolate powder instead of coffee would be $5.50 for the hot choc PLUS $8.50 for a shot of frangelico. So it’s only a few dollars extra, but really….

So I came home this long weekend and decided to make my own (and decidedly better) Frangelico Hot Chocolate.

It started with some finely grated dark chocolate

shake up some dry ingredients (including horlicks and good quality cocoa)

Whisk it all into some simmering milk

Then add a shot of frangelico

That will chase away the winter blues!

Deliciously rich and lightly hazlenutty, this is hot chocolate is just amazing. I adapted this Jamie Oliver recipe to make it a smaller yield. This recipe will give you two large mugs, enough for you to share it some a special someone (or just got for that second mug yourself. I’m sure you deserve it!) You could also make the hot chocolate without the alcohol, or substitute any other alcohol you like. Perhaps a little grand mariner for an orange hot chocolate?

So, lovely readers, what do you do to stay warm in winter?

Frangelico Hot Chocolate Recipe


500ml (2 cups) milk

1 tbsp Horlicks

1 tbsp cornflour

2 tbsp icing sugar

2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder

50g good dark chocolate (finely grated)

1 shot frangelico for each mug (or any other liquor you would like to add)



1. Add chocolate, horlicks, cornflour, cocoa and icing sugar to a small jar. Screw the lid on tightly and shake well.

2. Place the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and leave until almost boiling

3. Add the contents of the jar and whisk in well

4. Allow the mix to come to the boil, then pour into two large mugs

5. Stir in the frangelico and enjoy!