I love Christmas. Why? Because I get to eat and drink as much as I want, and I do it surrounded by all my favourite people. The festive season is now upon us and I’m sure many of you will be (over)indulging in festive treats and mulled wine, much like myself over the next few weeks. I’m currently working my way through a dark chocolate orange and I’m hoping to eat a lot more…yes, I feel sick.
As with every Christmas, mulled wine will surely be making a frequent appearance yet again this year, but for the past couple of years I have leaned towards Winter Pimms over mulled wine. Mulled wine can be a bit heavy at times but when I discovered Winter Pimms at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park a few years ago, I fell in love.
If you’re not British, you may not be familiar with Pimms. In fact, if you’re not English you might not be familiar with it. Hailing from Scotland, I didn’t try it until I moved down to London after Uni and even now if I order it North of the Border I get some very strange looks, along with some ribbing from my brothers who think I’ve ‘turned English’.
To give you a little background, Pimm’s was invented in 1840 by James Pimm as an aid to digestion. The initial product, now known as No. 1 Cup, was made using a gin base and over the next 100 years, as its popularity grew, cups 2 to 6 were added, containing whisky, brandy, rum, rye and vodka, in that order. Unfortunately during the 1970s Pimm’s suffered a decline in demand, and all but No. 1 and No. 6 cup were withdrawn from production.
Being a big fan of original Pimms No1 in the summer served with lemonade, mint, cucumber and strawberries, I was excited when Pimm’s released a new version of their brandy-based No. 3 cup, with the addition of extra spices and orange peel, rebranded as Pimm’s Winter Cup a few years ago. It was being heavily promoted at Winter Wonderland where they were serving it as a hot drink with apple juice and chunks of apple and orange, and since then I have been drinking that mixture like it’s going out of fashion. For me this is the perfect hot winter tipple. I bought a few bottles of it for my Christmas party last year, along with some mulled wine and the mulled wine wasn’t touched once.
So…if you’re currently shivering with this freezing weather and you want to warm up with a Christmassy winter warmer, try this…
One bottle of Winter Pimms
Add 3 parts apple juice to one part Winter Pimms in a large pan.
Add apple and orange slices and heat up until warm, not boiling.
Serve with some warm mince pies.