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Winter Warmers

Winter Warmers

The cooler months of the year call for beverages that warm the body and soul. We love stouts around here, but every now and then you just want something that’s warm, comforting, and makes you feel like you’re sitting around a fireplace wrapped in a blanket watching it snow outside. Fortunately for you there’s plenty of options to explore in the world of booze that do exactly that, and they’re super easy to make, whether it’s on a stove or over a campfire. Allow me to take you on a journey of spice, warmth, and deliciousness, featuring some of our favourite Aussie products, from cider all the way to whiskey.


Most Excellent Mulled Wine

Mulled wine has been around for centuries, dating back to the days of the Roman Empire (with possible earlier accounts in Ancient Greece as well). The Romans called it ‘Conditum Paradoxum’, and it involved heating and reducing wine with honey, spices, and other fruits such as dates. Naturally, recipes and tastes have evolved a lot since then, and there’s really no one way to make mulled wine in this day and age. It’s really up to you when it comes to the sweetness and spice elements, but there’s a few other little tricks of the trade that will really take your mulled wine to the next level.

A journey of spice, warmth, and deliciousness...

Personally, I like using some sort of citrus to complement the spice you’re adding into the mix. My go to is orange, but grapefruit also works really well. You can use lemon if you’d like, but if you do you might want to add a bit more of your sweet element. For every 750ml bottle of red wine you use, juice half an orange directly in with it, then slice up the other half and throw it in the pot with your chosen spices. I usually go with cinnamon, star anise, and nutmeg, but you could also throw in some cloves and/or bay leaves (if you want it a little more savoury). Something else I like adding that’s totally optional (but totally awesome) is the juice and seeds of a pomegranate. Use any sweet element to taste. I don’t like my mulled wine too sweet, so I don't put a huge amount of sugar in mine at all because I find orange and pomegranate juices are sweet enough. Try using agave, demerara sugar, or honey for different results. Simmer everything over a campfire or stove for 5 minutes and serve piping hot. If you’ve got an induction cooker, set it to a temperature to keep the wine just below a simmer and you can keep it warm for house parties or dipping into whenever you like.

Mulled Wine Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 750ml red wine (we used Delinquente's Montepulciano)
  • 1 whole orange, half sliced half juiced
  • 3 cinnamon quills
  • 4 star anise
  • Pinch of nutmeg, grated
  • Half a pomegranate, juice and seeds
  • Brown sugar to taste

Method:

Bring everything to a simmer (do not boil!) over a stove or fire for 5-8 minutes to infuse. Serve in mugs and garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon quill. To double the recipe, double the wine, orange, and pomegranate, but be careful not to over spice. I wouldn’t put any more than 6 star anise and cinnamon quills in, for anything less than 3L of mulled wine. Remember, the more you make, the more time the spices will have to infuse!


Killer Campfire Mulled Cider

Similar to mulled wine and dated equally as old but probably originating from the Southwest of England is mulled cider, and it’s just as tasty and easy to make. A 4 pack of your favourite local cider is all you’ll need as a base, similar spices are used, sweet citrus is a must, and the method is exactly the same. Don’t bother juicing an orange though, just slice it up and pop it in the pot. A nice addition to mulled cider is allspice berries if you have some on hand, and I'd definitely throw in a few cloves this time. Simmer over heat for 5 minutes (don’t let it boil though, you don’t want to cook the alcohol off!) and serve hot. If you’re using really dry cider, I’d add some sugar to taste before serving, but again that’s totally up to you. I like to use Willie Smith’s Organic Apple Cider, which I find doesn’t need a lot of extra sweetness if you’re using good sweet oranges. If you’re feeling fruity, add some blackberries when serving, and if you’re feeling boozy, add some spiced rum!

Serve in mugs and garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon quill.

Mulled Cider Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 cans of Willie Smith’s Organic Cider
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 4 cinnamon quills
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 or 4 cloves, stuck into orange slices
  • 5 allspice berries
  • Brown sugar to taste

Method:

Bring everything to a simmer (do not boil!) over a stove or fire for 5-8 minutes to infuse. Serve in mugs and garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon quill. To double the recipe, you’re safe to double everything except the cloves (they’ll easily overpower anything if left to infuse too long). As with the mulled wine, the more you make, the longer it has to infuse!


A Hot Toddy a Day, Keeps the Doctor Away

Lastly, and possibly one of my favourite hot cocktails due to its versatility, is the Hot Toddy. It originated in British India in the 1600s, but was popularised in 1786 and defined as essentially a mix of alcohol, hot water, sugar, and spices, hence why it’s so versatile. They’re generally made with scotch or bourbon whiskey nowadays, but really can be made on any dark spirit (including barrel aged gin!). It’s said that Hot Toddy’s were once prescribed as treatments to the common cold, and I’m no doctor but it sure does feel like it helps when you’re a bit under the weather.

It’s said that Hot Toddy’s were once prescribed as treatments to the common cold, and I’m no doctor but it sure does feel like it helps when you’re a bit under the weather.

I used to make serves in tea pots at my old bar, but you can make them directly in a mug or cup also. If you have a teapot handy though, I find it’s the best way to infuse the ingredients without them being in your way when trying to drink it.

My favourite spirit to use is Scotch whisky, but in the spirit of supporting local, I’ll be using an Australian whiskey for this recipe. Start with 45ml of your chosen spirit in whatever cup or mug tickles your fancy. In the teapot basket, throw in a couple of star anise, a cinnamon quill, grapefruit (or orange) peel, two cloves, and two teaspoons of agave nectar. Feel free to use honey, maple syrup, or molasses (really any other liquid sweetener will do), I just love agave nectar. Fill the teapot with boiling water and allow to infuse for a few minutes before pouring into your mug of whiskey and garnishing with a cinnamon quill and orange slice.

Again, they’re so versatile that you can really do whatever you want with a Hot Toddy depending on your personal tastes. Experiment with your favourite dark spirits and see what you like best! 

Hot Toddy Recipe (500ml teapot, serves two)

Ingredients:

  • 45ml Gospel Rye Whiskey (per serve)
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 inch long grapefruit or orange peels, no pith
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
  • Boiled water

Method:

In your favourite coffee cup, pour 45ml of Gospel Rye Whiskey. In the teapot, put the spices, peels, and agave and then pour over boiling water. Stir the ingredients in the basket if possible to make sure the agave dissolves, and allow to rest for 2-5 minutes before pouring over your whiskey and garnishing with orange slice and cinnamon quill. 


There you have it folks, three winter warmers to soothe your soul, cure your ailment, and keep you toasty through these colder months. If you’re playing at home we’d love to see what you’re drinking this winter, so tag us on Instagram @mybeerdealer and hashtag #mbdwinterwarmers to show us your favourite tipples!

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