Make the ultimate festive mulled wine in three simple and easy steps

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History

On cold nights when the decorations are up and the fire is burning, there’s a drink we Brits turn to, which warms us up and fill us with all kinds of Christmas joy. Yes, you guessed correctly; it’s mulled wine of course! Despite having an ancient history, this popular drink is almost exclusively drunk during the Christmas season nowadays. Some of our best corporate Christmas parties will involve mulled wine at some point. It’s that perfect combination of festive flavours, with a cheeky kick to get all the conversation and sing-alongs going.

If you don’t already know, mulled wine is a blend of red wine, sweeteners in the form of sugars and fruit and a variety of mixed spices that will flavour the drink. What goes into this spice mix has been up for debate and has changed over the many centuries that this drink has existed.

Wine originally came to our shores with the Romans. They were experts in all things vino, but entering colder climates such as Scotland, created an understandably need for a hot drink. Their impressive empire allowed them to bring spices in from all over the world, and thus a heated spiced wine drink was invented! Fast forward 1000 years and the mulled wine we recognise today was found in a medieval cookbook. The ‘Forme of Cury’ is a cookbook from 1390 which has a printed recipe for mulled wine inside. So if you think about it, you’re literally drinking history when you indulge in the mulled wine at Christmas!

The beverage has gone through many iterations over the years, and all the famous names in the world of cooking have had a go. Delia and Jamie Oliver are just two who have created their very own interpretations. But with all these variations around, what is the perfect recipe for the ultimate mulled wine after all this time? Well you’re in luck, as we’ve found it and made sure to write it down so you can make the perfect festive drinks every year. Who knows, in a thousand years, maybe someone will find this blog…

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Ingredients

Enough for 12 servings

  • 2 unwaxed oranges
  • 1 lemon, peel only
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 5 cloves, plus extra for garnish
  • 5 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 bottles of fruity, unoaked red wine
  • 150ml ginger wine

Step 1

The first step is to pre-heat a large saucepan. While this is on, peel and juice a whole orange and pour into the pan along with the peel of one lemon. The sugar and spice all go in afterwards. Cover the ingredients with red wine, but only so they are just covered. Mix this with a wooden spoon until all the sugar has dissolved. Then boil on high heat for 5 minutes, reducing the mixture until a thick like syrup.

Step 2

While the syrup is forming, prepare another orange by cutting it in to six equal segments. Stud the skin with cloves in a straight line. These will be used as a garnish for the final drink.

Step 3

The last step is all about melding the flavours together. You’ll want to infuse the wine with that amazing syrup you’ve just created! Turn the heat down, pour the remaining red wine in and leave it on a low simmer. Add the ginger wine and when it’s suitably hot , you’re ready to serve! Just make sure you leave it on a low heat when serving.

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Mulled wine can be a ‘love it or hate it’ part of the holidays, but no matter how much of a scrooge you are, this tasty recipe will make you fall in love again with this delicious drink!

Experience a Christmas dinner with an Italian twist in Birmingham

If you’re looking for a fun and laid back atmosphere this festive season in Birmingham to enjoy a delicious and indulgent three-course feast, then we’ve got just the place for you and your team that we know you’ll love!

Located in the heart of the buzzing city centre, this fantastic restaurant is situated in the famous Bullring shopping centre and owned by a certain celebrity chef, whose focus on creating indulgent, hearty dishes with an Italian inspiration, that’s evident with each bite. Choose either a fabulous shared party  where you’ll dine at your own private table or the exclusive option ideal for larger groups where you’ll enjoy your own private space.

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Featuring striking, bold designs to reflect the city’s industrial past and boasting a relaxed open plan environment creating a brilliant sociable experience for everyone, you know that you’ll have a great time here. You’ll also be able to catch a glimpse of the famous Selfridges building in addition to St Martin’s Church, whilst you dine – is there anything better than a delectable meal and a good view? We think not!

Look forward to a glass of prosecco or wine on arrival to get the festive merriment flowing for the night ahead and take a seat at your reserved table that’s been lavishly decorated with sparkling festive décor. Christmas crackers will also be provided, because no festive celebration would be the same without them!

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As for the menu, you’re in for a serious treat and may have a bit of a tough time deciding just what three-courses to go for! For the starters, tuck into the indulgent antipasti plank to share, which features Tuscan fennel salami, mortadella di Bologna, snappy music bread, olives and much more that everybody will love!

As for the mains, let your taste buds be tantalised with the amazing array of options that everyone will love, including vegetarians! Tuck into the porchetta, that’s been slowly cooked and stuffed with cranberry, apricot and sage, served with celeriac puree, gravy and a herby apple sauce, or how about the dry aged Sirloin steak, the vegetarian cracker ravioli, made with spinach, Buffalo ricotta, squash and chestnuts, served in a clementine sauce with crispy sage.

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Round off your dining experience with a heavenly dessert – will it be the black forest panna cotta, the festive dark chocolate tart or the classic Tiramisu? There are plenty of other options available on the tempting menu which will leave you wanting more! If you’d like to finish your meal with a limoncello or a Kimbo coffee, then this can be included for an additional cost.

Whether you’re after a reservation in the shared area of the restaurant or you’d prefer something more exclusive for your team, then you can count on the friendly and dedicated team at this top restaurant in the city to create the perfect festive celebration – send an enquiry through today!

Laugh your way into Christmas this festive season with a top night of comedy!

It can be a tough job organising the annual Christmas party – you’ve got to find something that everyone will enjoy, so it can be a pretty stressful time. However, this year, we’ve got the perfect solution for you and your team with a brilliant evening at this top comedy venue that’s available in three major cities, where you can guarantee that everyone will experience a hilarious time filled with fun and laughter!

With every show, guests will be treated to four comedians, many of which have appeared across both TV and radio shows. Your compere will bring along with them a sense of festive merriment to the evening and will ensure that the entire audience is letting their hair down and enjoying a memorable evening of top stand-up comedy.

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Available in Birmingham, Cardiff and Nottingham, these top comedy clubs offer rib achingly funny acts and have previously played host to some of the biggest names in comedy, including Michael McIntyre, Sarah Millican, Russell Howard and Jack Whitehall.

The stages at these venues have witnessed some of the greats for over twenty years, so you can rest assured that with this experience, you’ll be spoiled with a fantastic show! Rather than watching comedy on the sofa all Christmas, why not book to be part of an electric live atmosphere and treat your team to a totally unforgettable Christmas celebration?

The venues offer mouth-watering food and drink that’s cooked fresh to order from their own kitchens, by their outstanding catering team. Unlike many venues, they put together a special menu each year with fresh, innovative and festive dishes that are prepared with care and attention to detail. The food is of high quality and the menu includes indulgent dishes such as a three-bird roast, cod wrapped in Scottish smoked salmon and an amazing pulled turkey burger if you want to be less formal in your dining choice.

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They also offer vegetarian and vegan options including a grilled chestnut mushroom and fried Halloumi burger, that comes with red cabbage and cranberry slaw, topped with sage and onion stuffing balls and vegan pigs in blankets and is also accompanied by sweet potato fries. For vegans, the Halloumi can be switched for Tofu.

You can choose from a two or three-course meal, so there’s something to suit everyone’s preference. The dessert grottos are simply heavenly and perfect for those with a sweet tooth! Choose from a wide range of delicious cakes, cheesecakes and tarts.

Comedy is a great night out for everyone. It’s easy to take any group, large or small, and with a full menu of delicious food, it’s a quality option that guarantees you great entertainment. After the comedy, the venue’s resident DJ will take to the decks to keep the party going until the early hours and is always happy to take any festive requests.

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Try something different this Christmas and make sure that you and your whole group have a proper laugh. We have had great feedback from groups who have really enjoyed the variety that a night of comedy and late night music provide at Christmas. Booking is easy – simply send an enquiry through to the venue of your choice who will contact you about your requests. If you’ve got special dietary requests, then that’s no problem as each venue offers a superb customer service team including dedicated Christmas coordinators.

There’s some great packages to choose from in Birmingham, Cardiff and Nottingham, so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment – make sure you book before September 30th to enjoy the fabulous early bird discount of 10% on available packages!

Discover The Winter House and celebrate your Christmas party in this unique former chapel!

With so many venues to choose from in the UK’s buzzing capital, it can be hard to know where to host your Christmas party this year. But if you’re looking for somewhere that’s unique and boasts plenty of character, then we’ve uncovered just the place in the bustling West End.

This previously undiscovered venue was a former chapel and retains many of its original 19th century features, which includes stunning arched windows and a striking umbrella dome ceiling. Opening as a limited-edition venue this festive season – The Winter House offers a dedicated team to provide a night of celebration like no other.

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The property has been transformed by an outstanding events brand in London, who are known as ‘The Party Lords’. Famed for curating truly beautiful hospitality spaces and unique and entertaining events, The Winter House will be no exception!

The venue will be beautifully styled with unusual textures and modern shades with lavish furnishings and rich fabrics to create a sophisticated and a glamorous feel that oozes luxury. This spectacular event space is split across three different levels which will be transformed into a magnificent banqueting hall, intimate alcoves where guests can enjoy delicious canapes and refreshing cocktails on the balcony. In addition, the basement boasts a secret dancing den where guests can party into the early hours.

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Offering both shared party nights and exclusive celebrations, this magnificent venue is perfect for groups of all sizes and promises a totally unforgettable evening. The shared events can accommodate groups with a minimum of 10 people and for private hire a minimum group size of 220 is required, with a maximum capacity of 500 guests.

Drinks will lead with celebrated signature cocktails perfected over the last decade by some of the city’s most accomplished mixologists. Alongside award winning classics, there are seasonal choices too such as the ‘Three Wise Men’; a triple malt Scotch whiskey with vermouth and Campari stirred with prune liquor or a ‘The Seasonal Brandy Fizz’ blending sparkles and seasoned brandy with honey and citrus.

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The food promises a fresh, exquisite take on festive fare – classic British with a fantastic twist. Head Chef Anthony Horn will be creating seasonal dishes over three menus that are on trend, making the food part of the conversation on the night. Seated three course banquets, innovative hot and cold canapes or more casual bowl food boasting a medley of flavourful recipes including meat, fish and vegetarian options for the evening’s feasting.

As the night continues, make your way down to the crypt and dance the night away with the resident DJ perfecting the atmosphere leaving you wanting more. Creating a memorable atmosphere comes naturally, and the soundtrack, ambience and tempo will be carefully orchestrated night by night.

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Bespoke, additional entertainment is offered to those wishing to upgrade their exclusive Christmas celebration. Choose from the talents of a live band, casino tables, photo booths and special theming that can be discussed with your bespoke event manager.

For a shared or exclusive party night at this magnificent venue that truly packs the wow-factor, then make sure you enquire today!

 

Five reasons to book a Christmas celebration at this Reading townhouse venue

For an unforgettable Christmas party in Reading this year, then you’ll not want to look any further than this gorgeous townhouse which is offering a choice of either a shared party evening or an exclusive celebration. We’ve rounded up five reasons why you absolutely must organise your festive evening at this top venue to enjoy a totally unmissable night that your team will be talking about for months.

1.      Conveniently located

Situated in Reading city centre, the venue is easily accessible for all guests, so there won’t be any minibuses required to drive you back from a venue located in rural area! It’s also located just a short five-minute walk from the train station, whilst there are various bus stops dotted around that are in close proximity. Car parking facilities are available onsite, for any non-drinking guests who are considering driving on the night.

2.      Beautifully stylish

Having been described as the UK’s sexiest townhouse, you can expect plenty of stylish and contemporary interiors this stunning venue. Oozing decadence and opulence, guests will be in awe at the striking décor; from the 86,000 Italian glass beads in the chandelier running the height of the building in the old lift shaft to the luxurious fabrics and wallpapers and the gorgeous furnishings – you’ll feel like royalty in this beautiful art-filled venue!

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3.      Incredible three-course festive meal

Indulge your senses in an absolutely delicious three-course meal from the fabulous Christmas menu on offer. With mouth-watering meat, fish and vegetarian options, there will be something on offer here that all guests will love. Each dish has been expertly created onsite by the outstanding catering team using high quality ingredients to ensure that each guest experiences full and rich flavours with every bite. Tea, coffee and mince pies will be served shortly after dessert to round off the dining experience.

4.      Choice of shared or exclusive evening

Whether you’re after a shared party or something a bit more private, there’s something for everyone at this sophisticated town house. The shared party options accommodate up to 120 guests with a minimum of six guests per group and includes a stunning room, fabulous three-course meal followed by hot beverages and traditional mince pies and a DJ and disco.

The exclusive party offering gives guests the opportunity to enjoy all the elements of the shared party, but with their own private suite for their group. Exclusive parties will accommodate up to 120 guests.

If you’d rather celebrate by day, then you’ll love the festive shared lunch parties available!

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5.      Accommodation available

Why not make a night of it? With an excellent choice of plush rooms available, then save the journey home and unwind in one of these well-appointed bedrooms that feature Bang and Olufsen TV’s, coffee making facilities, luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets, complimentary Wi-Fi, in addition to en-suite bathroom with walk in showers and heated floors.

With prices starting from £33.33 excluding VAT, these affordable Christmas celebrations will be sure to give you and your team a party to remember. Send an enquiry through for your preferred party to this great venue today!

 

Saving for Christmas – What you can do to look after the pennies

With Selfridges opening its Christmas shop just the other week (147 days before Christmas day to be precise), it just goes to show that it’s never too soon to start thinking about planning for the festive season. With that in mind, it’s sensible to begin saving for Christmas right now, as we all know this time of the year doesn’t come cheap! We’ve rounded up a few of our best festive money saving tips, to ensure a stress-free Noel!

Get paid to shop on a cashback site

If you’re going to shop online, make sure you sign up to a reputable cashback site where you’ll literally be paid to shop. We recommend Topcashback or Quidco. All you need to do is sign up to the site and search for the online retailer that you want to shop at. If the link is listed, simply click and shop. Your visit will then be tracked and you’ll receive cashback into your account once your purchase is complete – every little extra helps!

Start stashing the cash as early as possible

Even though it’s August, there’s absolutely no harm in saving a bit from each month’s wage to help you fund the festivities in December (starting to save any earlier is a bonus!). Whether you’re saving £50 or just a crisp twenty pound note each month, it’s all additional money that will go towards the Xmas food shop or gifts for friends and family.

Consider doing a Secret Santa for the adults in the family

Make life easier and save money by enrolling all the adults in your family into a secret Santa, leaving you with less stress and more money to put towards the kids presents or other festive treats!

Make your own gifts

Why not get creative and make your own gifts for friends and family? You’ll have fun doing it and as it’s been especially handmade, it will mean much more to the receiver. Our favourite ideas include homemade candles, truffles, cushions and flavoured gin!

Don’t get yourself into debt that you can’t manage

Stay clear of ‘pay day loans’ and credit cards with a ridiculously high APR. Whilst it may help you short term and relieve you of your festive stress temporarily, it will come back to bite you if you can’t afford it. Remember, if you can’t manage to pay it off straight away, then stay away.

Book your Christmas party now!

Get ahead of the game and get your work’s Christmas celebration sorted now, so there’s less stress later down the line. Take advantage of many of the venue’s early bird deals and ensure you secure the venue and location at the top of your festive wish list!

Check out our fantastic range of shared and exclusive Christmas parties today!

Explore the magic of Rio this festive season in Nottingham

Experience a vibrant burst of incredible sounds and colour this Christmas in Nottingham with a fantastic Rio Carnival festive celebration, where you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported away from the icy cold British weather to the sunnier climates of Brazil!

With a shared or exclusive Rio party night, you’ll discover the most energetic and exhilarating party in the city, with beautiful tropical décor, exotic carnival dancers and an electrifying atmosphere where you’ll let your hair down for a night of indulgence and fun!

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As you enter this stunning world, you’ll be mesmerised by the meet and greet fire performers who will be sure to kick-start the beginning of this incredible evening, before heading to one of the bustling Brazillian bars to purchase a chilled drink to quench your thirst. The attentive hospitality staff will be making their way around the venue with a selection of delicious hot and cold canapés.

Soon, it will be time to settle down to a fabulous four-course feast that’s bursting with flavour. There’s a delicious selection available on tempting menu, with plenty of exciting and innovative dishes that will wow your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

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Be entertained as you dine, by the amazing feat of talented performers who will take your breath away with their daring acts! You’ll be mesmerised with the Rio dancers as they perform high energy routines in their fantastically vibrant costumes before watching the spectacular aerial acts as they twist and tumble beneath the starlit ceiling. The entertainment will reach a climax with a magnificent full cast finale which will leave you speechless!

After the entertainment, enjoy a fourth-course that comes in a choice of British and continental cheeses from the ongoing station, before enjoying a tea or coffee for a caffeine kick to keep your energy levels up for the rest of the night.

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As the night continues, why not have a go on the authentic fairground dodgems or try your luck in the casino, before dancing the night away on the state of the art dance floor? If you can make it into the early hours, then treat yourself to a delicious survivors’ breakfast of either a bacon roll or vegetarian sausage brioche bap.

If you’re looking to experience all the fun of the Rio Carnival without even having to board a plane, then this is the Christmas party for you! With a choice of either exclusive evenings or shared evenings to choose from, there will be something on off that all groups will enjoy!

Send an enquiry through today and make it a night to remember this festive season with a spectacular Rio Carnival themed party!

Four venue ideas for your festive celebration in Manchester

Christmas is simply just the most wonderful time of the year and we believe there’s no better way to celebrate with your team and enjoy a completely unforgettable experience. If you’re unsure of where to celebrate in Manchester, then why not take a look at some of these great party ideas that are available to enjoy in this buzzing city? There’s something for everyone here, so get ready for some serious festive inspiration!

Exclusive Museum Christmas Party

If you’re looking for a unique venue this festive season, then you’ve found it with this brilliant exclusive museum party! Including everything you need to enjoy a memorable evening, guests will start off by enjoying an elegant drinks reception underneath an impressive Harrier Jump Jet, before tucking into a delectable four-course dinner which are comprised of delicious, rich flavours that will be sure to delight.

The venue’s 360 cinematic experience is without a doubt one of the most striking elements of this event space. You’ll be able to choose from one of the animated HD wallpapers such as Alice in Wonderland, Santa’s workshop or Winter Wonderland.

If you’re looking to create your own bespoke theme, then the venue are more than happy to work with you to create some special of your own. After dinner, the party continues with the likes of a professional DJ and disco where guests are invited to dance the night away!

Dancing Through The Decades Exclusive Party

Are you looking for an evening where you’ll be able to experience a variety of music from the different decades? If so, look no further than this private party night situated in the heart of Manchester city centre. The theme for this year is ‘Dancing Through The Decades’, so make sure you bring your dancing shoes along with you for the occasion!

Guests will be treated to a welcome drink before settling down to a seriously tasty three-course feast from the fantastic festive menu, where there will be something scrumptious to cater for everyone’s taste buds!

After your dining experience a talented dance act will perform and will have you mesmerised by their outstanding skills. Afterwards, the dance floor will be open for business, so make your way over and transport yourselves back in time and dance through to the present day with music from the 60’s, 70’s. 80’s, 90’s, 00’s!

Winter Wonderland in Manchester Shared Party

Immerse yourself into a stunning Winter Wonderland this festive season in Manchester and enjoy a shared party experience that you and your team won’t forget! Admire the beautifully decorated event space on arrival to the party and get the evening kick-started by treating yourself to an ice-cold drink from the cash bar.

Dinner will be an extravagant experience and each table has been kitted out with stunning, glittering centrepieces to create a festive atmosphere that everyone will love. It won’t be long until the venue’s talented hospitality team will be serving up a truly divine three-course festive dinner for everyone to enjoy. You’ll be able to enjoy a succulent turkey dinner with all the trimmings or choose from the other tempting options available.

Finish off the evening and get dancing into the early hours with the venue’s brilliant resident DJ who will be playing a top array of party tunes which will promise to get everyone moving! Make this shared party your celebration of choice if you’re looking for a stunning themed evening!

Christmas Party Extravaganza Shared Party

This Christmas, you’re invited to this fantastic venue that’s situated near to Salford Quays for a festive shared celebration that you and your team won’t be forgetting! Make your way to the library on arrival where everyone will be able to enjoy a sophisticated drinks reception which will be sure to get the merriment kicked off with a bang!

Indulge in some incredible gastronomic delights for dinner and prepare to be wowed with three wonderful dishes which will ignite the senses and satisfy your hunger pangs. There’s a great choice from the wonderful Christmas menu with a range of options including sumptuous vegetarian choices too. Finish the evening by letting your hair down and partying the night away to the professional DJ and disco who has all the latest and greatest music!

For more Christmas party inspiration, then check out our venue offerings right here and get your festive celebration organised today!