My American friends are bewildered by our November fire festival. I admit that from their perspective on the other side of The Pond, it could look (dare I say it) a trifle pagan. Especially with all those rum goings-on down in Lewes, with its cliquey Bonfire Societies, Wicker-Man type effigies, and night time parades through the narrow streets.
So if you’re heading out to watch the fireworks tonight, you’ll want something to keep the cold out and what better way to do that than filling by your hip flask with a punchy, warming, alcohol-infused Mulled Cider.
I’m a huge fan of English and Norman organic ciders, and I prefer the mulled cider version to the rather Pickwickian wine toddys that everyone seems to be so mad about these days. Here’s how you make it:
In a sturdy pan, pour in a bottle or so of cider. Preferably you want to get hold of the flat, dryish, West Country stuff. Next, throw in half an orange, half a lemon, a stick of cinnamon, a few cloves, a few tablespoons of brown sugar and a dash of grated nutmeg. Simmer slowly. The goal is to bring it to just under the boil. If you boil it by mistake (easily done), the alcohol will burn off- and that’s definitely not a good plan. When the concoction is hot enough, ladle it out into mugs.
That’s it. Satisfyingly simple, eh? Though I have a sneaky suspicion that you’re probably going to be calling for a Prairie Oyster or two the next morning.