ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mulled White or The Long Hot Toddy

Well, Happy New Year, folks.

The tenacious longevity of my coldy-fluey-swiney ailment has meant that I've been functioning well below 100% through the festive season and into 2011, but I think I've hit upon a tasty cure which I'll share with you today.

During the Winter months I enjoy mulling wine, as, I'm sure, do many of you. It's a simple way to rustle up some festive cheer - a rough red, heated up with some apples and oranges, and the classic seasonal spice combo of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Mmmmm. Warms the heart, so it does.

I've also mulled ale and cider a few times over the years. Give me a naked flame, a handful of cloves and a cinnamon stick and I'll mull anything, me.

But the other day I began - ahem - mulling over a little vinous thought that just wouldn't go away. What about mulled white wine?

It's been done before

A quick Google showed that it had actually been done many times before by many different people, so I turned out to be not quite such a pioneer as I'd perhaps hoped on this occasion.

But so fucking what? 

Mulled white still isn't exactly commonplace - I've never had it before, and that's what counts! The cogs continued to turn over in my mind as the Ben Viveur take on mulled white wine began to take on form and void, and it struck me that I could probably boil up a classic cure for a Winter cold into the bargain. A sort of mulled wine-hot toddy hybrid.

The recipe is simpler than a regular mulled wine, and benefits from both the fortification of whisky and the omission of any lemonade or orange juice or anything else that might dilute a traditional mullathon.

Honey - comes from a bee's cock
I'm not a huge fan of honey because it comes from a bee's cock, and it's an ingredient that I use rarely, but this was one recipe that definitely calls for the nectar of the bee penis - the beenis, if you will.

As when mulling red, you really don't have to worry about the grape variety or vintage. I just grabbed a three quid Chardonnay from the shelf in the supermarket.

Mulled (White) Wine

Ingredients - makes two large mugs

Dry White Wine, one bottle (nothing special)
Islay Whisky, a very generous measure, I used a young, cask-strength Ardbeg
Two Lemons, unwaxed, one halved, one chopped into little pieces
Ground Ginger, a fair sprinkling
Acacia Honey, a decent dollop


Fill a saucepan with the wine and add the whisky and ginger, before squeezing in the juice of one lemon.
Bring just to the boil, and pour in the honey, stirring well, then add the chopped pieces of lemon.

Now turn the heat down and allow to simmer for half an hour or so, and feel free to add more honey if it's not sweet enough for your, more whisky if it's not strong enough etc. All depends on your individual palette'n'shit.

A note of caution: if it gets too hot and starts to boil again, the Angel's share will be more than they rightly deserve and the quantity will decrease, so maybe keep a lid on the saucepan.

Serve in a big mug with the lemony bits floating in it, and enjoy!!!


  1. It sounds rather delicious. Did it cure the coldy/fluey/swiney disease?

  2. It made my throat feel better immediately, and made itself known rather more forcibly and pleasantly than either Lemsip or cough medicine could manage.

  3. Dear Mr Viveur.

    Whilst I and Mrs Chimney were dining on Turkey over the yultide season, Mr Jenkins, Master of the coal-house, knocked on my door and demanded that I mull his wife. Suffice to say, I and Mrs Chimney were shocked. I'd heard of many a mulling adventure; mulled wine, mulled tea and mulled toast to name a few, but to mull a man's wife? The cheek of the man! I told him to be off on his merry way, sirrah, or By George, he'd feel the sharp end of father's lash. He then ran away laughing, shrieking like some drunken whino. Or, "mulled" whino.


Comments are always welcomed and encouraged, especially interesting, thought-provoking contributions and outrageous suggestions.