Advent Calendar Christmas Eve: Hot Spiced Cider

•24 December 2010 • Leave a Comment

1 litre still dry cider

2 small Cox’s apples, cored

25g butter, melted

2 tsps caster sugar

125g soft brown sugar

12 cloves

4 cinnamon sticks

8 allspice

juice of 1 orange

1/4 whole nutmeg, grated

Makes 8 glasses

Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off making this delicious warm cider with buttered apples. For the cider, don’t worry too much if it is sparkling, as the bubbles will evaporate when it is on the heat; I used Henney’s.

First, core each apple and then cut into 4 slices. Brush the melted butter onto each slice and then dust with caster sugar. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes on 190 degrees/gas mark 5. Meanwhile, place the remaining ingredients in a pan on a low heat and stir. Once the apples have finished cooking, add them to the hob for a final few minutes as well as any bits of caramelised sugar on the baking sheet.

Serve straight away with a slice of apple in each glass. If you don’t want all the bits of clove and allspice floating in your glass, I recommend you sieve the liquid before serving.

What I love about this recipe is once all the cider has been guzzled away, you are left with a gorgeous baked apple resting at the bottom of your glass – a perfect little pudding too.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my festive cocktails this month and have tried your hand at a few of them. Have a very merry Christmas all of you and I will be back in the New Year! Charlotte x


Advent Calendar Dec 23: Santa’s Little Helper

•24 December 2010 • Leave a Comment

1 part brandy

1/2 part amaretto liqueur

1/2 part cointreau or grand marnier


We all feel like Santa’s little helpers in the run up to the big day. Whether wrapping presents is a chore that inevitably ends in sellotape all over your fingers and paper cuts or a work of art it’s always nice to have a little tipple to see you through.

Put a few ice cubes in the glass, pour the alcohol into your glass using a 25ml measure per part. Sit back, sip and reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve done!

Advent Calendar Dec 21: Spiced Mulled Wine

•21 December 2010 • Leave a Comment

1 Orange

12 Cloves

3 tbsps soft brown sugar

1 whole nutmeg, grated

3 cinnamon sticks

2 lemons, sliced

1 bottle dry red wine

Serves 4-6

Anyone who has been baking this festive period should find most of the above ingredients already stored away in their kitchen cupboards. If not, and you don’t fancying shelling out for them, there is a cheaper recipe here.

Stud the orange with the cloves and place in a large saucepan. Add the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, lemon slices and 500ml water. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the red wine and heat through. Serve immediately in goblets garnished with a slice of orange.

Relaxing on the sofa in front of Love Actually sipping a glass or three of mulled wine is one of my favourite Christmas traditions; it is Christmas in a glass.

Advent Calendar Dec 20: Poinsettia

•21 December 2010 • Leave a Comment

1 x 75 cl bottle Prosecco or Cava

125ml Cointreau

500ml Cranberry or Pomegranate juice

Serve chilled

This is a Nigella recipe for a stress-free but celebratory cocktail perfect for Christmas morning. Simply pop open the fizz, pour into a pitcher followed by the Cointreau and fruit juice. Stir and sip to your heart’s content.

See Jamie Oliver making the version with pomegranate juice here. Apprentice fans out there will know pomegranate is clearly the ‘in’ ingredient in cocktails after finalist Chris Bates included them in his cocktail,Prism, in the final task.

Advent Calendar Dec 19: Dubonnet and Gin

•19 December 2010 • 1 Comment



Pour the ingredients half and half over ice.

Serve regally with a slice of lemon.

Tonight cathedrals up and down the land will be celebrating their annual service of Nine Lessons and Carols – that sine qua non of the English Christmas, first conceived at King’s College, Cambridge, by the Revd Eric Milner-White in 1918. Churchgoers will seek a warming, yet refreshing, tonic from the stresses of the descant in O come all ye faithful.

Dubonnet and gin is perfect. Known for being HM The Queen’s favourite drink (a taste inherited from her mother), Her Majesty had aides scurrying around north London supermarkets trying to track down a bottle of this illusive fortified wine last year; she is partial just before lunch.

But its royal connections have been its own worst enemy. Dubonnet is a drink that is too eccentric, too upper-class for modern, egalitarian tastes: Dubonnet is the Barbour jacket in liquid form.

But Barbours are fashionable now, even being seen on the lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys, 22-year-old Alex Turner. Dubonnet’s time has come, joyful and triumphant.

Adam D’Souza lives on Exmoor, reads the Daily Telegraph and probably votes Tory. He works in advertising.

Advent Calendar Dec 18: Green Apple Martini

•19 December 2010 • Leave a Comment

Nigella is back! She needs little introduction, so all I will say is watch out for her measurements – as with food Nigella doesn’t hold back on the alcohol either. Enjoy.

Advent Calendar Dec 17: Mulled Wine on a Budget

•19 December 2010 • 1 Comment

Mulled Wine is infused with spices to give it that festive flavour, but these are expensive to buy. So, here’s a cheat’s way of making mulled wine on a budget.

First, you need to buy a bottle of pre-made mulled wine – M&S sell a great one, but Sainsbury’s and Tesco will stock their own versions too. Now all you need is an orange (very cheap) and some sugar – something you should already keep in the kitchen. If you have an extra pound, you could splash out on some cinnamon to make cinnamon sugar. Pop a cinnamon stick in a plastic food bag with your sugar overnight and it will infuse the sugar with that lovely cinnamon fragrance and taste.

Warm the mulled wine in a pan over the hob. I add a slice of orange per serving, so if making for three I pop in three orange slices. As for the sugar, this is according to taste. Serve up warm with a slice of orange to garnish.

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