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!
- 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.