Give your guests an amazing Heston Blumenthal Fat Duck-style Christmas treat with this recipe for Hot and Iced Mulled Cider or Mulled Wine.
This year we’ve come up with something we hope you can all try at home. It’s relatively simple and cheap to make (you can use as little as two ingredients) and is guaranteed to amaze anyone who tries it – our Hot and Iced Mulled Cider recipe! (Or hot and iced mulled wine recipe).
This Heston Blumenthal Hot and Iced Mulled Cider recipe is based on one of our favourite dishes at the Fat Duck – the Hot and Iced Tea,
It looks like a plain, innocent glass of tea, typically served as a palette cleanser just before the dessert courses. Here’s a photo of it:
But, divided precisely down the middle, one half of this drink is hot and the other half is icy cold. The first time you sip it is an incredible double-take moment, with one half of your tongue tasting hot tea and the other half iced. It’s unexpected, astonishing and brilliant fun.
At the Fat Duck they make this using a molecular gelling agent called Gellan F, but we think we’ve come up with a way to make sure everyone can make this at home.
We’d genuinely really like you all to have a go at making this one, and we hope you’ll be able to serve it to your friends and family this Christmas and put some huge smiles on their faces.
The trick that makes this recipe work is using the head of a silicone spatula as a divider (we got the idea for this when the head fell off our cheap one).
If your budget allows then try to get a silicone spatula head for each glass (or cut up a silicone sheet and use lollipop sticks to keep it straight.
Whatever method you use it’s essential that your silicone fits your serving glasses as closely as possible – this will ensure the hot and cold sides of the drink stay separate as you pour them in. This way your Heston style Hot and Iced Mulled Cider recipe will have the best possible impact.
Recipes: Heston’s Hot and Iced Mulled Cider or Mulled Wine recipe
Special Equipment: Silicone spatula head, stick or jug blender, two jugs, digital probe thermometer (optional), serving glasses
Special Ingredients: Agar Powder
Time: 6 – 8 hours (can be spread over 2 days)
Serves: 4 – 6
We’re making this with the rather fantastic Heston from Waitrose Spiced Mulled Cider. But if you’d prefer a more traditional mulled wine, or can’t easily reach a branch of Waitrose (e.g. Kita) then we’ve also included Heston Blumenthal’s recipe for Heston’s Hazelnut Mulled Red Wine drink, originally published in the Guardian in 2002.
We’ve based this Hot and Iced Drink recipe on using one 750ml bottle of the Heston from Waitrose Spiced Mulled Cider, which we reckon is just enough to serve our 6 diners. The recipe may sound complicated at first, but if you scroll through the report you’ll see it’s actually just a few easy steps.
Heston from Waitrose Hot and Iced Mulled Cider recipe
Scroll down for full report and hints on how to make this recipe.
- 750 ml Heston from Waitrose Spiced Mulled Cider
- ¾ tea spoon Agar Powder
- Set your fridge to its coldest temperature
- Combine Heston from Waitrose Spiced Mulled Cider and Agar Powder in a pan (with any extra aromatics you like)
- Bring to a vigorous rolling boil while whisking to evenly mix through agar powder
- Remove from heat and pour into a wide container. Cool and then refrigerate
- When set (will appear loose and wobbly) blend thoroughly using a stick or jug blender
- Strain back into container through a sieve to ensure there are no lumps
- Optional but recommended: To remove any small bubbles place the cider in a pan over a low heat and stir until bubbles disappear.
- When the blended, gelled cider is cooled return it to the container and put back in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Before serving divide the mixture equally into two jugs. Keep one jug cold in the fridge
- Arrange six serving glasses near your stove, ideally with a silicone spatula head or other suitable divider in each
- Place the contents of the other jug into a pan over low-medium heat.
- Heat the Mulled Cider to around 50°C, or until a fine mist starts to rise from the pan
- Immediately transfer to a jug
- Pour the hot and iced ciders into each glass, on either side of the silicone divider, at the same steady even rate.
- Serve immediately and enjoy the looks on your guests faces
Hazelnut Red Wine Drink recipe
(An Authentic Heston Blumenthal recipe alternative to Mulled Cider)
- 100g hazelnuts shelled and crushed
- 4 fresh figs
- 50g dried figs or raisins
- 750ml bottle fruity red wine
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ tbsp Coriander seeds
- 1 star anise
- 6 allspice berries
- Zest of 1 lime
- Zest of 1 orange
- 25g unrefined caster sugar
- Toast the hazelnuts in a hot oven for around ten minutes
- Chop the fresh and dried figs (or raisins) into small pieces
- Place in a casserole or heavy pan with half the red wine
- Bring to the boil then ignite to flame off the wine
- Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar
- Leave to cool, then add the remaining half of the wine
- Strain through a fine sieve or muslin, then seal until ready to use or serve
To make things easier you can do steps 1 – 8 the day before serving. Steps 9 – 15 may sound complicated but they will only take ten minutes.
Steps 1-4: Gelling
Before starting you’ll want to have your fridge set to its absolute coldest. Not only will this help the agar gel set faster, it’ll make the cold half of the final Heston Hot and Iced Mulled Wine or Mulled Cider extra cold, which will give it better contrast when you serve it.
Optional: Before starting you can enhance your chosen drink with extra aromatics, such as cinnamon or star anise. Simply bring to a simmer and then leave to infuse for 20 minutes before continuing.
Next, measure out your agar. We’ve found 1 teaspoon per litre is the perfect amount, so for a 750ml bottle of Heston from Waitrose Spiced Muleld Cider use 3/4 tsp. We get our agar from a Chinese Cash & Carry, but the vegetarian jelly stuff from the baking aisle at the supermarket works equally fine.
To begin, combine the Heston from Waitrose Mulled Cider and agar powder in a pan and bring to a vigorous boil, whisking constantly. You need to do this to ensure all the agar is evenly dispersed, and to ensure its “activated.”
We’ve had problems in the past with agar that re-set after a second heating, like this flourless mustard sauce recipe.
Once combined pour the contents of the pan into a wide container (the larger surface area will help the liquid cool faster).
When it gets to around room temperature leave it in the fridge to set. You should end up with a loosely set, rough jelly.
This is exactly what we’re looking for. We want the liquid to be viscous enough that the hot and cold halves will “bump against each other” instead of mixing. But we don’t want it so thick that you feel like you’re drinking soup.
Steps 5 & 6: Creating a Fluid Gel
Here’s some leftover gel to give you an idea of the texture you should expect. A rough, wobbly, loose-looking jelly.
“Fluid Gel” is a sciencey sounding term, but it basically just means broken up jelly. So let’s create one of those by getting our set gel and blending it.
Obviously the gel will be firmer than normal liquid. When blending air will be driven through it from the blending action will cause hundreds of tiny bubbles to appear. The thickness of the liquid will prevent those bubbles from rising to the surface and disappearing (this can be fixed in the next two steps).
Basically, it’ll end up looking like thick, opaque baby food.
Strain the blitzed jelly (or fluid gel, since we’re being all technical) through a sieve to ensure there are no lumps.
Step 7 & 8: Removing Air Bubbles
Doing this isn’t strictly necessary for the recipe, but it helps with presentation. The bubbles will only disappear if the liquid is heated. Obviously you’ll be heating the hot half, but a cold half full of bubbles might give the game away to your guests.
To remove those bubbles simply transfer the blended liquid to a pan and heat very gently. They’ll start to disappear.
Once that’s done return the liquid to the container and cool again, then place back in the fridge.
Steps 9 & 10: Preparing to Serve
It’s important to be organised here. You’ll want to divide your fluid gel liquid into two equal halves (one will become hot, the other will stay cold). Keep one jug in the fridge for the cold half.
Now arrange you serving glasses near to the stove. Make sure you have plenty space to work in. If you have enough silicone dividers (we’re using a spatula head) for each serving then place these in your glasses now, dividing each glass exactly in half.
If not you can get away with using one or two dividers, moving them from glass to glass as you go. This is best done with two (co-operative) people: one to pour and one to place the divider.
Steps 11 & 12: Heating the Cider
Transfer the half of the cider or mulled wine you aren’t keeping cold into a pan. Place over a low-medium heat and stir gently and constantly
If you have a digital probe thermometer aim for about 50 – 55°C (we’ve found this temperature has the best impact). If you haven’t got a thermometer then you’ll know you’re near the right temperature when a fine mist starts to rise from the pan.
Steps 13 – 15: Serving
Transfer the warm cider or mulled wine to a second jug, get the jug of cold liquid from the fridge. The next stage of the operation will be a two-handed job.
Steadily and evenly pour the hot and cold ciders either side of the silicone divider in the glass. It’s important to pour both at a similar steady rate to ensure they stay balanced.
If necessary transfer the divider to the next glass and repeat the process. (Note: it may take some practice to get all your servings equal).
Remove the divider from the final glass and serve immediately.
THIS IS VITAL: Make sure you serve the drink in front of your guests so that the hot / cold divide is exactly down the middle in front of them.
You can decorate your glasses (I tried with cinnamon quills but they kept snapping) as a guide. However, the cold half of the liquid will still have a slightly rough, wobbly appearance. It’s subtle enough that only you should notice it.
TIME IS CRITICAL: After 3 minutes the temperatures of each half of the drink will start to even out. The quicker you serve this the better – it’s starts losing impact the second you start pouring, so don’t hang about!
Congratulations, you have just made the Heston Blumenthal Fat Duck-style Hot and Iced Mulled Wine recipe.
Wow! We can’t believe how well this worked! Or that it was so simple.
We admit that written down this Hot and Iced Mulled Wine or Cider recipe looks kinda complicated. But we promise you if you do a trial run you’ll see that’s quite easy to make and that the recipe really does work. Look closely, you can’t even see the join:
We’ll admit our home version isn’t as slick or as precise as Heston’s Hot and Iced Tea recipe from the Fat Duck itself. But we think that it works well enough to impress your guests at Christmas, and we hope it’ll put a smile on the face of everyone who tries it.
- It took us a few experiments to get this right. We’d recommend you do a trial run of this, so that your guests are guaranteed an amazing experience. We recommend using cordial, as plain agar-water isn’t very nice. We used Ribena.
- You can absolutely tailor this recipe to your desire. We’ve suggested the fantastic Heston from Waitrose Mulled Cider, or Heston’s Mulled Wine recipe, but you could use absolutely anything in its place.
- Make a family-friendly version using apple juice infused with sugar and cinnamon.
- You could even try cocktails – Hot and Iced Mojitos, anyone?
- The 3 minute time limit for serving this is no exaggeration. The gels will even out each other’s heat and rapidly change to room temperature, spoiling the whole effect of the recipe.
- Because of the time limit we’d suggest 6 servings as a maximum. But with two people working in unison, or with a silicone divider for each glass, you could give 12 a go.
We’d genuinely love to know if you make this so if you do please, please get in touch with us and tell us how it went. You can use the comments section below, email us at email@example.com or catch us on Twitter @HestonFans. We’d love you to send us your reports and photos, and Merry Christmas!