Mulling over warm and cheering options on a winter night.

GROSSMUTTER’S PUNSCH

(Spiced Rum and Tea Punch, Serves 6)

Ingredients

21/4 cups water

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger

16 whole cloves

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup Darjeeling tea

1 750-ml bottle dry red wine 1/4 cup dark rum

Garnish

Lemon slices

Method

Combine water, honey, sugar, ginger, cloves and vanilla in a large saucepan. Bring mixture to boil, stirring until honey and sugar dissolve. Reduce heat, simmer for five minutes and stir in tea. Remove from heat and strain. Add wine and rum. Serve hot with a slice of lemon. Grossmutter’s Punsch, German for Grandmother’s Punch, is usually enjoyed warm at midnight on Christmas Eve.

It can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated, minus the wine and rum. Heat before serving and then add the wine and rum. Leftover punch can be served chilled, on ice.

MULLED WINE WITH ORANGES

(Serves 12)

Ingredients

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

24 cloves

6 two inch cinnamon sticks

1 cup orange juice

Juice of 2 limes

1 bottle dry red wine (750 ml)

2 oranges (Kinnow/Kinoo)

Method

In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon. Heat until boiling. Simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar, for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is reduced to half a cup. Sieve and pour into a large jug along with orange juice, lime juice and red wine. Slice oranges into quarter-inch-thick circles, quarter and add to jug. Keep covered. Pour out and heat as much as you need to serve at a time, taking care not to let it boil. Fish out and add an orange segment to each glass when serving.

If you’re not in a hurry, keep the reduced juice and spices for a few hours or overnight to intensify the flavours.

The orange pieces steeped in wine are delicious to gnaw at but drip indelible red juice. Keep paper napkins handy.