Add zing to a winter’s evening with a spicy cocktail

Cocktail drink.

As the nights become longer and temperatures cool, there’s certainly nothing better than coming home to good company, a hearty home-cooked meal and a laid-back cocktail as a sundowner.

Although, exotically colored beverages sporting paper brollies and tropical fruits on cocktail sticks have long been associated with exotic getaways and nimble handed barmen in trendy bars, the truth is that you don’t need a stylish mixologist to turn out a tasty beverage ideal for a winters evening.

“You can sip a martini any time, but there’s something particularly pleasurable about a cocktail designed for the colder months,” says Royal Palm Hotel, Umhlanga’s General Manager James Theunissen. Because he can’t share cocktails with as many guests as he’d like to due to lockdown, he’s sharing one of his secret recipes that has a definite winter-friendly twist for you to enjoy at home:

Spiced Mulled Wine


  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 200gm caster sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 whole nutmeg, for grating
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bottles of red wine


  1. Peel large sections of peel from the oranges, lemon and lime.
  2. Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the orange juice.
  3. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways and add to the pan, then stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.
  4. Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine, then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you’ve got a thick syrup.
  5. When your syrup is ready, turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into heatproof glasses and serve.

Recipes courtesy of

Spiced Mulled Cider


  • 2 litres good-quality traditional cider
  • 6 cloves
  • 3-4 star anise
  • ¼ nutmeg, finely grated into the pan
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved
  • 1 orange, juice of
  • 2 clementines, juice of
  • 1 pomegranate, juice and seeds of
  • 4–5 tablespoons caster sugar


  1. Pour the cider into a large pan on a low heat and let it warm through for a few minutes. Add all the spices and juices and turn the heat up. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and leave to tick away for 5–8 minutes.
  2. As everything infuses, you’ll get delicious layers of flavor. Taste it and add sugar as you like. When you’re happy with the flavors, ladle into glasses or mugs and serve warm.

Recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver 

Winter Warming Calor


  • 30ml Bacardi 8 rum
  • 200ml hot caramel chocolate milk
  • Whipped cream
  • 15ml caramel drizzled over top
  • Pinch of charcoaled salt


  1. Combine the Bacardi rum and hot caramel chocolate milk in a mug.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Top with whipped cream, drizzled caramel and pinch of charcoaled salt.

Recipe courtesy of for more.

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