A seasonal polyphenol punch that can be made with or without alcohol
75cls bottle of red table wine or red grape juice
70mls brandy or pomegranate juice
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 orange cut into slices
1/3 cup whole cranberries fresh or frozen
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 pods whole star anise
2 black peppercorns
½ tsp ground ginger
Optional 25 g golden caster sugar or so to your taste
Begin by cutting the orange into quarters and then slice the quarters.
I like to toast the spices on a low heat in a pan for a minute to bring out the herby flavours.
After you toast your spices pour everything into your small saucepan or crock-pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Make sure not to let it boil. You can leave this on the stove-top for up to 2 hours- the longer it simmers the more the flavours will emerge.
Strain the spices before serving; alternatively, after you toast the spices you can add wrap them into a cheesecloth, tie off and place in the saucepan during the simmering, remove bag at end. Test for taste and add sugar as required.
Finally ladle into heatproof glasses or mugs. If you are venturing into the great outdoors you could pour some into a flask.