How have I ended up posting about how to make a mulled Christmas drinks for the masses again, this year? When I left the residential life team in July this year, I thought that I’d also left my mass mulling days behind. But apparently not. I’m trying to remember the last time that I made a mulled concoction for like 4 (drinks with friends) or 10 (a gathering) or even 30 (a wee party)… I think that it was maybe 3 years ago for Cryfield Subwarden housewarming?
This time it was for our church’s annual Christmas Celebration. Simon had asked me whether I wouldn’t mind being in charge of the catering side for the event. He wanted to try out a different way of serving food at big events, so did I think that I could do a drink and some traditional english christmas goodies for 100 people within a $100 budget? Well, it’s definitely a different scale from what I was used to at Warwick, but I took up the challenge.
A bit of online research, excel spreadsheets and visits to various shops ensued and this is the menu, that I came up with:
- Mulled Apple Juice
- Mince pies
- Iced Christmas biscuits
- Snow topped Spiced Cake.
The day before the big event, I hailed a tuk tuk and carted to the church:
- 20 litres of apple juice
- 12 oranges and some lime peel
- 140 cloves
- 80 pieces of cinnamon bark (my mum’s friend had kindly sent me cinnamon bark
- 600g sugar
- 1 very large sieve ladle
Unfortunately my pre-arranged mulling helper got the dates mixed up and forgot to turn up. Just when I was wondering how I was going to make 20 litres of mulled apple juice with my poorly knee, help came in the form of various others who tasted, carried vast quantities of liquids, peeled oranges and decanted many cartons of apple juice. What a Godsend! 2.5 hours later we were all done.
So, say you fancy mulling a non-alcoholic drink this christmas time. Then, this one is a definite winner. It went down really well at our Christmas Celebration tonight. In fact, I had quite a few people asking me what the ingredients were but unfortunately I still have holes in my khmer vocabulary for words like cloves, cinnamon and peel.
I adapted the mulled apple juice recipe from BBC Good Food because it was the simplest and still garnered good reviews. Most reviewers said that they didn’t bother adding in the sugar because it was already sweet enough. It was sweet enough but slightly tart (which I like) for me when I tried it. But my Khmer tasters said it was ‘jjoo’ (sour). So, in went the sugar.
Here’s the recipe for mulled apple juice for 8 people, adapted from BBC Good Food.
- 1 litre apple juice
- peel of 1 orange
- peel of 1 lime/lemon
- 7 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- golden or white sugar to taste – for the khmer tastebuds, I added 2 tablespoons.
Top Tip: Stick the cloves into orange and lime peel. That way, it’s really easy to fish out the cloves later and you won’t get unwelcome ones ending up in your drink.
1. Stick the cloves into the orange and lime peel. I used a knife to peel the fruit so that I could get as little of the bitter pith as possible.
2. Decant the apple juice into a pan, add in the orange and lime peels with the cloves, the cinnamon sticks and bring to a simmer on a medium to low heat. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Sweeten, or not, according to taste.