Humbugs look away now because this post is unapologetically festive. For all its beautiful natural colour, freely given goodwill and perks like cosying up at home feeling warm and toasty, winter is a brilliant time and undoubtedly my favourite of the year. Disclaimer: I’m the sort of person who starts getting butterflies at the thought of Christmas Day being closer than ever in early September so my enthusiasm for winter is by no means shared by everyone. If however, like me you’re already fully embracing the thought of festive celebrations, you’ll love this recipe – one I whipped up after two wonderful things happened in the space of a week.
The first wonderful thing was meeting two friends for drinks and enjoying my first Old Fashioned of the cooler seasons. My all-time favourite cocktail and one that is best enjoyed in autumn, an extra-sweet Old Fashioned warms my soul, cheers me like nothing else and is a very suave and festive drink by all accounts. The second wonderful thing that occurred was the delivery of a classic range cooker to my home.
Ever since I was little I’ve wanted a big old range in my kitchen. I’m aware that this is a peculiar thing for a child to want but I feel I was somewhat swayed by my literary heroes and their depictions of cosy kitchens in tumbledown houses on windy moors. My range cooker arrived and it was huge, matte black and cavernous with big cast iron trivets and gas hobs, just as it should be. Having it delivered to my house was a thrilling fulfilment of a bizarre childhood dream and of course, this left me feeling all the more festive.
Inspired by a delicious evening spent sipping an Old Fashioned or four and the arrival of my new range, I decided to create a recipe to serve up to friends and family this Christmas that would encompass both things. Now, an Old Fashioned is comprised of four ingredients: whiskey, bitters, sugar and orange peel, so my festive recipe uses all four and a few extras. Plus, it requires no fuss and is very simple to make. All you’ll need are the ingredients below, a hob and some cups with handles, simply because this is a hot drink that will warm you to your core.
YOU WILL NEED
16 fl ounces apple cider
4 fluid ounces of whiskey
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 naval orange, sliced
1/2 lemon, sliced
1 star anise
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick per person to serve
Add all your ingredients, including the spices and sliced fruit to a large saucepan with a lid atop your hob.
Stir everything using a spoon and place over a medium-to-high heat until the mixture reaches a gentle boil.
Then, bring the heat right down so your mixture is simmering. You don’t want to overheat this potent mix. Leave on the heat for about five minutes, giving it an occasional stir.
Turn the heat off and cover the pot with the lid whilst you prepare your cups. Ladle the mixture into the cups, including the fruit and spices and pop a cinnamon stick in each cup to garnish.
Consume piping hot in a cosy setting and feel free to double the quantities if you have more guests.
Words: Emily Beeson | @boogiemargaret