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Lamb's wool

Makes 4 small glasses

This is a traditional recipe unearthed by Nick Strangeway, the cocktail supremo at my new restaurant. It's a warming long drink combining ale with apple purée and spices. It also features in a verse from Robert Herrick's Twelfth Night (c1648).

Next crown the bowl full
With gentle lamb's wool
Add sugar, nutmeg and ginger,
With store of ale too;
And thus ye must do
To make a wassail a swinger

Makes 4 small glasses

1 bottle of Hix IPA or light ale or bitter

For the sugar syrup

200g granulated sugar
200ml water
4 allspice berries
The peelings from the grated root ginger, below
8 cloves
2cm of a cinnamon stick

For the apple purée

500g bramley apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
A good pinch of grated nutmeg
tbsp finely grated root ginger
120g Demerara sugar

First, make the sugar syrup. Put all of the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes; remove from the heat and cool. Then place all the ingredients for the apple purée in a thick-bottomed saucepan and cook on a low heat with a lid on for 6-7 minutes, stirring every so often until the apples have disintegrated. Remove from the heat; blend in a food processor until smooth.

To serve, strain the syrup through a fine-meshed sieve, gently heat the beer and whisk in the syrup and apple purée to taste; serve in a pewter or silver tankard.