Mulled ale

  • Serves 6
  • Easy

This warming mulled ale recipe is the perfect Christmas drink

Mulled ale or 'flip' was a favourite of British sailors (Photo by: Getty Images)

Mulled ale has the reputation of being a drink more commonly served to the poor with mulled wine favoured by the rich.

In Britain and other beer drinking countries, warming the ale and sweetening it with sugar and or honey was thought to be more beneficial to the health.

Festive guide: traditional mulled drinks

Again, spices likely masked some pretty rough beer making the end drink more palatable than its original form.  A shot of something stronger, whatever spirit to hand, but mostly rum or brandy, mulled ale then takes the name of a flip. Flips were popular on both sides of the Atlantic, associated as they were with sailors and much raucous, seafaring revelry.

Here’s how to make mulled ale



  • Golden ale 1 litre
  • Honey 100g
  • Cinnamon stick 1
  • Cloves 4
  • Whole nutmeg 1, freshly grated
  • The peel of 1 lemon with no white pith (un-waxed are best, if possible)
  • Salt a pinch
  • Brandy, rum or whiskey 60ml, (optional)


  • Step 1

    Mix all of the ingredients apart from the brandy (or rum or whisky) in a non-reactive pan

  • Step 2

    Bring to a simmer quickly then remove from the heat and add the brandy if using. Ensure you don’t leave the pan on the heat for too long, as this will alter the flavour of the ale.


  • Step 3

    Leave for a few minutes to cool slightly then pass through a fine sieve, then add a bit more grated nutmeg to taste.

  • Step 4

    Serve in warmed glasses.