What’s your favorite holiday beverage? Mine is lamb’s wool. (BTW, please note: This is a recycled blog from Christmases past. Just saying. But the giveaway is new, and if that’s what you’re here for, feel free to scroll down to it. It’s below the pic of lamb’s wool.)
I assume you have already figured out that this blog has nothing to do with lambs or wool—not really. It’s about a beverage often made at Christmastime. I suppose the beer foam and apples make it look a bit like wool, so perhaps that’s where the name comes from. I mention lamb’s wool in some of my Christmas novellas. (Especially A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction.) I couldn’t resist trying to make some lamb’s wool for myself. It’s wonderful – and if you’re not a beer/ale drinker, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t taste much like beer at all. Even my husband, who dislikes the taste of beer, really enjoyed lamb’s wool. We don’t drink, so I used non-alcoholic beer (O’Doul’s), which worked just fine.
I surfed for recipes, found several, and picked the first one I’d come across, mostly because the apples were cooked on the stove rather than baked in the oven.
To make a long blog short, if you’re in Britain, just go to this link and follow the recipe. If you live Elsewhere, you may have to make adjustments re ingredients and measurements. Regardless, print out the recipe first and then read on – I’m only discussing the minor changes I made.
I went way wrong the first time, because I used whichever apples I happened to have in the house. They were far too sweet for this recipe. I should have looked up Bramley apples and found out more about them before I started, but I’m an impatient cook.
Onward to the second time, which worked: I used Turbinado sugar instead of Demerara (as far as I know, they’re similar in flavor), Granny Smith apples, and O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer. You’re on your own re any other kind of beer or ale, but please, please, start out with it at room temperature. I’m not saying this because I was brought up on room temp beer and like it that way (although this is true). I’m saying it because you’re going to warm the beer a little before putting the drink together, and the gentler and quicker the warming process, the better for the lamb’s wool.
If you’re in the U.S., like me, you’ll need a cooking scale to weigh some of the ingredients. Either that, or you can use my approximations, but really, the amount of sugar required is a combination of personal taste and the variety of apples you use. You can also adjust the flavor of the lamb’s wool by the kind of beer or ale you choose and by adding more or less syrup and apple puree… Sorry, I can’t just come up with a simple recipe. Everything is approximate and adjustable in my cooking world.
For the sugar syrup, I used less than a cup of granulated sugar, a little more than ¾ cup of water, and ¾” of a cinnamon stick. The other ingredients don’t need measuring. Use all of them. It’s well worth buying allspice berries and fresh ginger, for example, even if they’re not household staples for you. The syrup is magnificent – so delicate and tasty that it’s heavenly just on its own.
For the puree, I used a few large Granny Smith apples and less sugar than it called for. Somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup seemed good to me, but I didn’t want to make the drink too sweet. The nutmeg and ginger were as called for in the recipe.
Just to prove that I actually made the lamb’s wool, here is a pic:
Try it! It’s a warm, wonderful winter drink.
As for the GIVEAWAY, I’m offering a Kindle copy of one of the following Christmas novellas, winner’s choice. Just leave a comment telling me what’s your favorite holiday beverage.
A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction:
Once a notorious rake, Camden Folk, Marquis of Warbury, is now consumed by desire for only one woman: beautiful young widow Frances Burdett. And the Yuletide festivities at his country estate present the perfect opportunity for seduction…
After her brief and unsatisfying marriage, Frances Burdett swore never to become tied to another man. Then a passionate kiss under the mistletoe reawakens longings she thought buried forever. But can she give in to the pleasures of the body with a rogue like Cam—without losing her heart?
Under a Christmas Spell:
Dissolute aristocrat Lord Valiant Oakenhurst hides a sexy, supernatural secret—as a powerful incubus, he is able to influence others through erotic dreams. At an exclusive Christmas house party, his latest mission is compromised by the beautiful but deadly succubus Lucille Beaulieu. Though still drawn to his former lover, Val cannot forget her betrayal….
Hoping to atone for her past, Lucie uses her seductive powers to help couples find happiness. But she is distracted from her task by her own delicious dreams of the dark and dangerous Val.
As the riotous festivities begin, their passion is reinvoked, but can a little Christmas magic restore their lost trust?
The Christmas Knot, A Slightly Gothic Regency Mystery Romance Novella:
Widowed and destitute, Edwina White takes a position as governess in a remote village in the north of England—in a haunted house. She’s so desperate that she’ll take anything, and besides, she doesn’t believe in ghosts. Little does she know that her new employer is the seducer who lied and deceived her many years ago.
Sir Richard Ballister inherited an estate with a ghost and a curse, and every governess he hires leaves within a week. Finally, a woman desperate enough to stay arrives on his doorstep—but she’s the seductress who dropped him many years earlier for a richer man.
The last thing Richard and Edwina want is to work together, but they have no choice. Can they overcome the bitterness of the past in time to unravel a centuries-old knot and end the Christmas curse?