Drinking with Dickens
An old-fashioned mulled wine, as enjoyed at the Fezziwigs’ party in A Christmas Carol. You can also make an alcohol free version for non-drinkers and designated carriage drivers.
- 600ml red wine or red grape juice
- 1.1 litres boiling water
- 100g sugarcubes
- 1 unwaxed lemon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- Rub the sugarcubes on the lemon rind until they soak up enough lemon oil to turn yellow.
- Mix the sugarcubes, nutmeg and lemon juice in a bowl with the wine or grape juice.
- Pour over the boiling water, stir, then allow to stand for 10 minutes to cool a little.
- Serve in small mugs or glasses, garnished with a sliver of lemon peel.
This one is spicy and thick like cake batter, perfect for warming the soul after a night of carol singing, or ghosts. Many of Dickens’ novels feature flip-drinkers!
- 1 egg yoke
- 1 heaped tablespoon of sugar
- 125ml dark rum
- 250ml hot water
- Ground nutmeg
- Beat the egg yolk, rum and sugar together in a jug.
- Add the hot water and stir for 2 minutes. Don’t worry, it’s meant to look a little curdled!
- Serve in small glasses and sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg.
Ice cold and classy. Dickens enjoyed his first of these in America in 1842. A cocktail from a time before cocktails were even called cocktails.
- 30ml gin
- 30ml cold water
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- Ground nutmeg
- Combine gin, water and sugar in a glass.
- Add three ice cubes and stir.
- Sprinkle a small pinch of nutmeg on top to serve.
A Victorian Christmas Eve party pleaser. Scale up as required.
- 4 small apples, cores removed
- 1 litre beer or cider
- 4 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 pinches ground cloves
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Cinnamon sticks (optional)
- Preheat oven to 190C.
- Score each apple around the middle using a sharp knife, place them in an ovenproof dish and roast until they’ve softened and the skins are beginning to split – around 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the beer or cider in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the honey and spices and stir well. Continue to heat gently until the surface of the liquid starts to foam.
- Remove pan from heat and add the lemon slices and roasted apples.
- Allow to stand for 10 minutes, for the punch to absorb the fruity flavours.
- Ladle into small mugs or glasses, and garnish with a cinnamon stick if you like.
Please enjoy responsibly!
First published: 8 December 2016