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Mulled Ale

The recent gales and torrential rain which have battered parts of Scotland acted as reminder of the bravery (or madness) of some 500 Scots every First of January. As part of the New Year celebrations they turn out, in all weathers, to dook in the chilly waters of the Tay and Forth at Broughty Ferry and South Queensferry in aid of charity. The Broughty Ferry dook sees some one hundred hardy souls swim between the piers of the harbour in an event which has been held for thirty years. 1 January 2006 saw the 20th Loony Dook in succession at South Queensferry when a record number, in excess of 400, took to the water in front of over 2,000 spectators. For 1 January 2007 the South Queensferry organisers promise that it will be bigger and better (but probably no warmer!). A parade led by a pipe band will promenade along South Queensferry High Street and fancy dress is positively encouraged. All are invited to take a dook in the Firth of Forth beneath the two magnificent bridges, but please note that no wimpy wetsuits are allowed. The near-by Mooring Pub will welcome the dookers for a well-earned warming soup and toddy. Much needed after braving the cold, cold waters of the Forth. This is a free event but donations will be collected for charity and over the twenty years, thousands of pounds has been raised for good causes.

As you can already find Toddy recipes in this feature, this week we will provide yet another warming alcoholic refreshment for the New Year Mulled Ale.

Mulled Ale

Ingredients (for a dozen people): 3 pints dark, malty ale; 3 measures of rum; stick of cinnamon; 4 cloves; pinch each of nutmeg and ginger; 1 dessertspoon of dark treacle or molasses; handful of raisins and sultanas

Method: Simply place all the ingredients in a large, attractive, flameproof casserole, cover; place on the lowest possible heat and leave to come slowly to barely simmering. Remove the lid and turn off the heat, letting it stand for a few minutes to cool slightly. Serve in small, heavy tumblers and think of the two Ferries brave dookers! 

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