Thursday, December 8, 2016

Winter Hot Drinks - Mulled Cider, Ribena, Hazelnut and Pistachio Coffee

This time of year a hot drink is lovely but tea and coffee doesn't always quite hit the mark. I've tried a couple of things recently that I want to share with you, which have varying levels of difficulty!

First of all I can definitely recommend a hot chocolate with marshmallows floating on top - whipped cream isn't even really necessary in my opinion. The best hot chocolates are the ones you make from chocolate flakes and heating a pan of milk - but at a push, cocoa powder and boiling water will do!

Next, I came across a new flavour of Ribena called Winter Spice. I'm not entirely sure what the spices are, since reading the ingredients, there's actually nothing I recognise as an actual spice. But it does contain 35% blackcurrant juice from concentrate, which is the main thing.

The suggestion on the bottle is to drink Ribena Winter Spice hot; I tried it both hot and cold. It is nice - a little reminiscent of mulled wine but sweeter and fruitier and particularly when drunk hot, does conjure up a bit of a festive atmosphere. Having said that, in my opinion it isn't anywhere near as nice as regular Ribena, which I really like!
Speaking of hot drinks, I was sent a packet of Schwartz mulled cider spice to review. They are like little tea bags - you get six in the box and they cost as little as £1 (current price in Tesco). The spice is a blend of allspice, orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg; you do need to buy cider to go with it then you put 1 litre of dry cider, 2 tbsp. brown sugar and 2 sachets of Schwartz mulled cider spice in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes, and remove the sachets to serve.

I had to wait quite a long time until the cider was cool enough to drink but it was really rather nice; I preferred it to the hot Ribena and the spices brought out the apple flavour of the cider well. It would be a good drink to serve at parties, garnished with apple slices.


Finally I had a coffee in the canteen at work from their menu of special Christmas drinks that I liked so much I decided to make a version of at home (I don't even drink coffee normally!). I had a packet of Nescafe Coffee Choca Mocha in the cupboard - individual sachets - though of course you can use normal coffee.

I made up the coffee and added a shot of Monin hazelnut flavour coffee syrup, then whipped some cream which I piped on top with a star nozzle. I sprinkled the top with chopped pistachios and drizzled over a swirl of Choc Shot liquid chocolate. It was delicious!


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