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By Mark Earl

Essentially a mulled cider served to carolling groups after the singing was finished, most Victorian families had their own recipe. Here's mine.


Bake 10 cored apples (the core being replaced with a tablespoon of unrefined

sugar) and a orange studded with 12 cloves at 180 C for 30 minutes.


Over a low heat warm 12 pints of a good cider, 1 bottle of dry madeira, 250gms caster sugar, 5 allspice berries, 5 cloves, 3 cinnamon sticks, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of ground ginger for at least an hour.


Strain into a punch bowl, add 1/2 bottle of calvados and the baked fruit and serve immediately.


 Like most good mulled drinks, this also fills your house with a wonderful Christmas aroma. Just be careful with how much you drink or you might start wassailing, a Middle Ages tradition of singing to and toasting the health of the trees in your garden. I imagine Prince Charles likes the odd glass of Wassail!


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