Vanilla + Lime Mulled Wine
This is as delicious as it is offbeat. You make a quick syrup infusion to ensure you get as much flavour as possible out of the spices and aromatics, then add the rest of the wine and warm through so that all the alcohol doesn’t boil away.
MAKES 10 GLASSES
100g light brown sugar or maple syrup
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 fresh bay leaves, crushed in hands
2 star anise
1 whole nutmeg
2 vanilla pods
2 bottles good full-bodied red wine
Strip the zest from the clementines and limes, using a potato peeler to produce large pieces. Juice the fruit.
Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the pieces of peel and the fruit juice.
Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, star anise and about 10 gratings of nutmeg. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways and add to the pan, then stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.
Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine, then bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes to allow the heat to bring out the flavours.
Turn the heat down to low and add the rest of the wine. Gently heat without boiling, then cover and leave to sit for about 30 minutes. When you are ready to serve, warm the mulled wine again without boiling and ladle it into heatproof glasses.
IMAGE: Issy Croker