To get you all into the festive spirit I thought I'd share this recipe I concocted for Market Kitchen - it got rave reviews on set so I thought it would be rude not to!
I had already used the cider/spirit mix in a previous recipe and just put some orange, cloves and cardamom in the mix but when I came across Nick Strangeway's piece in Jamie magazine with Wass'ail punch with the spiced syrup I shamelessly had to nick the concept - it just works!
As an aside, if I don't get a chance to raise a toast to all you guys before Christmas may I just say sorry things have been a bit sparse in recent months, the book has been pretty all-consuming and I'll be a bit quiet at the beginning of next year too.
HOWEVER, save the date, January 20 in the evening for a special event that I'll be involved in (also don't make a resolution for a dry January either!).
So, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year all and, of course, cheers! xxx
Serves eight cups - don't drive after drinking this!
250ml English cider brandy (recommend Julian Temperley's divine offerings)
250ml sloe gin (recommend Sipsmith if you can get it)
175ml juicing orange juice (not sweet eating oranges)
175ml lemon juice
500ml good quality, strong, dry cider like Aspall Premier Cru
Spicy syrup (concept pinched from cocktail king Nick Strangeway):
1/2 a cinnamon stick
1 lightly cracked cardamom pod
1 star anise
a quick grate of nutmeg
175g vanilla sugar
250ml of water
1 clementine studded with five cloves
First make the syrup by adding all the ingredients into a non-stick pan and reducing slightly until it coats the back of a spoon, careful not to over-reduce, burn it or get splattered!
Gently warm all the liquids in a large pan, not too much or you'll boil off the booze! Then add the syrup.
Warm your punch bowl with hot water, discard water, dry and then place the fruits & studded clementine in the bottom and pour over your punch.
Serve in handled cups/glasses with a lemon-juice wiped & vanilla sugared rim for a sour/sweet flourish