Chinnery Gin Hot Punch
The idea of serving gin warm is an old one. In A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens describes Bob Cratchit's family gathering around the hearth to enjoy a hot gin punch "while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily". Somewhere along the way we lost this traditional serve but it can hardly be bettered as a welcoming drink for party guests on a cold, dark winter's night. As it gently simmers on the stove, the spices fill the kitchen with a wonderful Christmassy aroma putting everyone in a relaxed mood.
- 1 litre Pressed apple juice
- 500ml Chinnery Gin
- 250ml Sweet (red) Vermouth
- 75ml Balsamic Cider Vinegar
- The juice of 3 oranges
- Whole cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, to taste
- One vanilla pod (sliced lengthways)
Combine all the ingredients in a pot and warm gently on the stove for 30 minutes. Don't allow it to boil. Serve in a tea cup with a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange. Makes about 10 cups.
Notes and variations
- The balsamic cider vinegar (Llewellyn's Irish Balsamic Cider Vinegar is particularly recommended) is optional but adds richness of flavour while knocking back the sweetness of the apple juice.
- You could try a sour citrus juice, like lime or lemon, with honey or maple syrup to sweeten.
- Vary the spice list to include, say, nutmeg, ginger or chilli flakes. You could also infuse the spices in the gin some days in advance.
- In general, feel free to modify the recipe. You should sample as you go though, adjusting the sharpness, sweetness, spiciness, etc. to your own taste.