We Made Mulled British Teenage Drinks And It Was Absolutely Terrible
Nobody should drink mulled Jägerbombs. Nobody.
Mulled wine is a delicious and essential part of Christmas. Adding sugar and a variety of festive spices turns even the worst bottle of red wine into a delightful Christmassy hug in a mug.
So we decided to mull the most terrible alcohol we could find in the corner shop to see if adding a shitload of sugar and spices actually has a magical power over booze.
To make our mulled booze we adjusted a Jamie Oliver
mulled wine recipe, but replaced the wine with our terrible teen drink of choice. We made a concentrated syrup for each drink involving cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, orange and lemon rind, clementine juice, sugar, and a splash of each drink, then poured the rest of the drink in and mulled it.
We started off with the drink every British teenager vomited up at some point in their life: terrible bright blue alcopop WKD. Boiling the pan of WKD mixed with festive spices gave off a slightly strange chemical smell, a bit like festive toilet cleaner. Weirdly it turned green and opaque, reminiscent of a fish tank that hasn't been cleaned for a while.
VERDICT: It tasted like a blue ice lolly that had been left outside in the middle of summer. Just sipping it made me feel like my teeth were dissolving. Though it wasn’t half as awful as we were expecting. 7/10
Next up was Buckfast, which is bad enough when you’re not heating it up to drink on a Tuesday morning. If you’ve never had it before, Buckfast is very alcoholic, highly caffeinated and extremely sugary “tonic wine”, popular in Scotland. Mulling it gave off a slightly sweaty smell, like a school PE changing room.
VERDICT: When poured into a glass it looked deceivingly like mulled wine. But it absolutely was not. It was a lot like drinking a large shot of hot syrupy cough medicine which left a really strong alcoholic burning sensation in the throat for ages afterwards. 4/10
Lambrini is described on Wikipedia as a “fruity wine-style drink”. It’s probably one of the cheapest ways to get drunk in the UK, and it tastes pretty nasty when it’s cold.
VERDICT: Adding a shitload of sugar and boiling it to death with a load of spices got rid of the horrible acidic Lambrini taste and the fizz so it actually tasted pretty good, despite looking like puddle water. Though it’s probably not worth pouring that bottle of red down the sink just yet. 8/10
We wondered if it was actually possible to make Strongbow taste any worse. Turns out it is.
The hot festive Strongbow was basically like necking the bottom dregs of a warm can you've been drinking on the fourth day of Reading festival.
VERDICT: Mulling the Strongbow turned it from yellow and clear to the colour of the liquid in the bottom of a Sunday roast pan that has been left to soak and then forgotten about. I wish I could erase the memory of it from my mind. 3/10
We decided to make one nonalcoholic option in the form of another Scottish favourite, Irn-Bru. Hot Irn-Bru smelled a lot like children's antibiotics, and resembled what your pee would look like if you exclusively drank Irn-Bru.
VERDICT: It tasted INCREDIBLY sweet, and it was at this point during the mulling morning that I started to get a headache. 4/10
Mulled Smirnoff Ice.
Because it’s a white drink, mulling Smirnoff Ice with a bunch of spices and bits chucked in made it look like washing-up water after you’ve had ice cream for dessert.
VERDICT: It actually tasted pretty good, like a slightly boozy Lemsip Max. 7/10
Mulled Crabbie's alcoholic ginger beer.
We optimistically thought mulled boozy ginger beer would be the best of all the drinks, but we were once again absolutely wrong. We put slightly too much star anise in this one, so it tasted a bit like a sweaty night of ouzo shots in Malia.
VERDICT: It seemed like the sort of shady home remedy your grandma would give you if you had a cough and you definitely wouldn’t be sure what the ingredients were. 3/10
Mulled Grolsch lager.
If you want to make something for your guests this Christmas that will have them gagging and wanting to leave your house immediately, I can recommend mulled Grolsch lager.
VERDICT: At first it tricked us with the familiar taste of sweet spices, but then the horrible, horrible vomity warm lager aftertaste came in. It had the flavour of a Wetherspoon's carpet at the end of Christmas party season. After tasting it photographer Laura had to get a biscuit and exclaimed, "Oh god, oh god, I need to eat something to get this flavour away. That is gagworthy." 0/10
The alcoholic vapours that came off this on the hob burned the back of the throat, and made us cough, which is really what you want in a festive beverage. It turned out to look a bit like gravy. Extremely alcoholic gravy.
VERDICT: You can’t really down these mulled vodka shots because they’re too hot, but then I did it anyway because it seemed like a waste to pour good vodka down the sink. It hurt. But it tasted pretty good. 7/10
The side of the Jägermeister bottle says “best served ice cold”. Obviously we totalled ignored it and HEATED THAT SHIT UP. Photographer Laura coughed and gagged after smelling the mulled Jägerbomb. It looked a bit like a nice cup of coffee but it was so much worse.
VERDICT: The hot booze gave off the aroma of a lad at the gym after a big night in town desperately trying to “sweat out” the alcohol. As with a regular Jägerbomb it tasted like regret.
And then I had to go and lie down for a while.
So what did we learn from spending the morning ruining my kitchen, boiling up the booze we used to drink in parks as teenagers? Could a £1.89 bottle of Lambrini be improved by mulling? What would happen if we drank mulled Smirnoff Ice at 9am on a Tuesday?
It turns out that basically any sugary alcopop is going to be improved if you add a load more sugar and spices to it, because the flavour isn’t strong enough to overpower the festive spices. However, anything more flavoursome than a WKD is going to be awful combined with the flavour of Christmas.
Nobody on earth should ever try to make mulled Jägerbombs or Grolsch lager again, because they will ruin your life.
But mostly I just learned that being hungover in the afternoon on a work day is ~quite~ terrible.
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