What if you could have that mulled spice taste with any drink you wanted? Generally, the only options are alcohol based mulled wines or ciders, many of which are fairly high in sugar too.
If you're looking for a toasty, non-alcoholic, low sugar alternative to enjoy at Christmas, this mulled spice syrup really opens up the options! It can be added to any drinks; to create mulled spirits, festive detox drinks or a warm spiced green tea.
Make it in advance, keep in the fridge and spice up those Christmas drinks. We'll leave it up to you to decide on your favourite.
The Flavour Of 'Mulled'
The flavour of traditional mulled beverages is brought about by sugar in the alcohol with the spices that creates the intensity and mulled syrup sweetness nowadays sugar is also added to the recipe to make it even sweeter. Although delicious, it is quite hard to control just how much sugar you are drinking and it still only makes one type of alcoholic drink available.
So Instead, Make A Mulled Spice Syrup
Making sugar syrup is fairly straight forward; it is created at a ratio of 2:1, that's: 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water or 100g sugar to 50g filtered water. Depending on the quantity you want you just increase/decrease by this ratio. It keeps well in the fridge can prolong shelf-life with a little lemon juice too.
For healthier sugar syrup swap refined white sugar for:
Coconut sugar- Swap like for like with refined white sugar, it has a great caramel note and contains many health-benefiting nutrients including zinc, iron, calcium and potassium.
Xylitol - Use a third less as it is sweeter than refined white sugar. It comes from birch trees and is considered a sugar alcohol. It has a low GI and is suitable for diabetics.
Next: Infuse The Spices
When thinking of spices associated with Christmas what do you think of? Personally, I think instantly of cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg & cloves. Allspice is also on my list, as it has a wealth of goodness to help your body. It contains active ingredients found to be anti-inflammatory and rubefacient (warming & soothing). It assists with enzyme secretion throughout the digestive tract and is very beneficial to gut health. Allspice is packed full with minerals including; manganese, iron, selenium, magnesium, vitamin A & C and lots of Vitamin Bs. There's a lot of goodness in just one teaspoon!
Photo Credit: FoodAtOne
Add in a slice of lemon or lime! When selecting your lemons and limes be sure to opt for unwaxed. The wax is a form of shellac which "protects" the fruit - no one wants to eat varnish! Limes are high in Vitamin C and contain minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, selenium, zinc and copper.
Mulled Spice Syrup Recipe
Basic syrup Ingredients
100g Coconut Sugar or 70g Xylitol or 1 cup sugar (add ½ cup to dissolve each time).
50g Filtered water or ½ cup water
Mulled spice ingredients
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. Allspice
2-3 Star Anise
1 tsp. ground nutmeg or freshly grated
½ lemon juice (optional)
Handful of frozen cranberries (optional)
Zest of 1 orange (optional)
¼ tsp. Freshly grated ginger (optional)
-Pour the water into a saucepan, over a low heat
- Add half the sugar
- Gently stir until most of the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the remainder of the sugar, continue to stir until dissolved and keep the heat low.
- Add the spices and optional ingredients.
- Once all sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
- Either pour into a jar or glass bottle and keep refrigerated to then filter later or alternatively, you can filter before pouring into jars to keep in the fridge.
Jazz up your green tea with a splash of mulled spice syrup. A little orange or lemon rind looks and tastes great too.
Alcoholic Mulled Spirit - 1-2 tsp, syrup & 1 measure of vodka, 2 measures of lemon juice garnish with a cranberry.
Lemon juice with one teaspoon of mulled syrup - one too many the night before? Nurse yourself better with this. It'll still feel like you are joining in with the festivities but will give your liver a day off & some extra help! Can elongate with some sparkling water too and drink throughout the day.
I hope that this demonstrates how simple and easy it is to find natural, more nutritious alternatives to everyday, and seasonal, recipes! Try and think up your own use or drink for this special festive recipe!