We have the tree, we even have some presents to go beneath it, but until Thursday the spirit of Christmas had eluded me. But I thought if anything would get me in the yuletide mood, it was an invitation to try the world’s most expensive mulled wine.
Ninety percent of the mulled stuff (in line with Sturgeon’s law) is rubbish: mostly because people seem to want to stew it for hours. But that’s not to say I haven’t tried some very tasty vin chauds in recent years. But not one that’s ever cost £50 a glass. And £50 is a lot for a glass of anything (except perhaps diamonds, but they’re less drinkable). And particularly pricey for a cheap festive drink like glühwein.
So I was sceptical when I met its maker - Ecuadorian mixologist Pedro Solorzano, from Hush Bar in London’s Mayfair, and surprised when he said that there wouldn’t be a nice slice of orange floating in the glass. Nor was there to be any sugar. Instead the sweetness would come from the goji berries and the organic apple juice. In addition, he uses a good quality Bordeaux wine (Château Grand Puy Ducasse 2008, in case you were wondering), cloves, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, tonka beans – a nod to his South American heritage – and saffron. In our case he added a slug of the very nice and again, very expensive, Delamain Vesper cognac.
I wanted to tell you, dear reader, that this was all just a gimmick, and no better than the cheaper stuff. But I can’t. It was delicious: grown-up tasting and neither cloying nor sour. In fact it was one of the best mulled wines I’ve ever tasted.
A merry smile on my face, I headed across town to the Union Chapel, for a live show of The Snowman and the Snowdog. Andy Burrows (formerly of Razorlight) and Ilan Eshkeri (a successful composer of film scores) performed their soundtrack live to the animated film, followed by a performance of some of their Christmas favourite songs. The last show is tonight, and if you’re nearby and want to feel Christmassy, go. Plus, there the hot drink of choice is the much more affordable cocoa with marshmallows.