Yes, I’m afraid it’s that time of year already. At least, the nights are drawing in and the weather has turned distinctly chilly so no further excuse is required to crack out the festive punch.
Punch? you say. Do you mean mulled wine? Well, you may well be right but I’m reluctant to call this mulled wine, firstly because we’ve always called it punch in our house and secondly because I would say this is slightly sweeter than the average mulled wine so I think punch is a more fitting moniker.
In this version I have used Cointreau and brandy but almost any spirit could be substituted. I use brandy for the decidedly Christmasiness (that’s a word!) of it and Cointreau because I quite like the citrus notes cutting through a bit of the sweetness. However, vodka, rum, whisky, creme de cassis or even amaretto would work. (Although it should be noted, DO NOT make ANYTHING with amaretto in it for me – yeuch!, almond flavour is one of the few ingredients I can’t abide. Real almonds – yes:) Amaretto, Amaretti biscuits, marzipan, Bakewell Tart – NO!).
This is a bit of a family heirloom recipe although I must say this latest incarnation is pretty unrecognisable from the original, but I feel it’s at least the same in spirit. (Excuse the pun). There are lots of not dissimilar recipes out there and there is certainly a lot of scope for getting a lot more complicated with the spices (think vanilla pod, star anise, bay leaves, a grind of nutmeg) and the floating citrus frippery (slices of orange, lemon, clementine or even kumquat – the latter being my favourite) so experiment as you wish, but the basic recipe is sound.
But of course the main advantage of this recipe, as everything Instant Pot, is that it’s a bung in and forget affair. And using the slower cooker method is perfect for hosting guests as you really can forget about it and it will remain at perfect quaffable temperature, without losing the precious alcohol, for the whole evening.
So don’t wait for Christmas, everyone is always bloated and sick of festive fayre by then anyway, and enjoy a cheeky tipple today. Cheers!