At this time of year it’s so tempting to start thinking about the C-word and wishing the next few weeks would pass more quickly, but despite loving Christmas as much as the next person, I try my hardest not to do that. November is great in its own right; it’s not just a way to fill the time between Hallowe’en and Christmas. If we wish away November, that’s 1/12 of our year wasted! And that’s just silly.
So, in order to make this time of year a little more exciting, I like to fill it with cosy, wintery things that help me to appreciate November rather than just willing the time away. Things like this apple and blackberry mulled cider – who needs Christmas when you can spend your evenings sipping on a hot mug of fruity mulled cider?
Far from being a tricky recipe, this is one of those ‘bung it all in a pan’ dealies. Just bubble up the cider with some fresh blackberries, some spices, and a few sprigs of thyme, then serve it in nice big mugs. I’ll admit, the thyme does make me feel like I should be enjoying this mulled cider in some sort of woodland, but it’s just as good on the sofa. Throw a few extra fresh blackberries and sprigs of thyme on top for an extra bit of pizzazz.
Please be aware that for this recipe I used the British version of cider – i.e. the slightly fizzy alcoholic stuff – not the American version, which I believe is basically what we would call cloudy apple juice. I’m sure apple juice would work fine too, but if you want the extra stomach-warming capabilities of the alcohol, make sure you use the right stuff. If you’re going to attempt to brighten up your November, you may as well do it properly!
Apple and blackberry mulled cider
- 200 g fresh blackberries (~ 1 1/2 cups) - plus more to serve
- 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 440 ml apple cider (~ 2 cups)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- Add all the ingredients to a large saucepan, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for at least 5 minutes over a low heat, then pass the mixture through a fine strainer to produce a clear liquid. Serve with more fresh berries and thyme, if desired.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for the full batch of mulled cider.