Every good Christmas party needs some mulled wine. We caught up with Paul Hunt, the man behind the delicious Mulling Syrup in our shops…
COOK: So how did you get into mulling?
Paul: A couple I knew from the village I lived in started it all from a small herb and goat farm in the village of Selsley in Gloucestershire, making products like lavender marmalade. I took over in 2007 when they retired. Selsley Foods now make a wide range of chutneys, preserves and desert syrups, but the mulling syrup is still the cornerstone of our business. We sell it though wholesale companies and directly, at farmer’s markets and Christmas fairs.
COOK: So, what in it?
Paul: Nice try! The recipe’s a secret, so I’m not going to go into too much detail. Suffice to say, it includes traditional mulling ingredients like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
COOK: What are the benefits of using a mulling syrup?
Paul: You can make as much or as little as you like, and the results will be consistent. Even just a single glass, it will have just the right balance of spices, as long as you stick to the ration of 8/1. It also avoids the powdery residue you often get with sachets or bags.
COOK: What sort of wine is best to use?
Paul: Don’t waste expensive red wine. A standard table wine is perfect. Choose a lighter, dry wine, as a heavy one can overpower the flavours. Heat it gently, but don’t let it boil.
COOK: A big bottle of mulling syrup will make at least six bottles worth, so what should you do if you have some left over?
Paul: It has a long shelf life, but you can use it in all sorts of ways. It’s great for mulled cider (the dry, non-fizzy kind is best) at a 10/1 or 12/1 ratio. I love it with stewed fruits, too. Use it instead of sugar with cooking apples or poached pears. As it’s non-alcoholic, you can also make spiced hot apple juice for drivers or kids. It’s even nice on a Christmas ham or for glazing cocktail sausages.