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Put all the ingredients into a saucepan with 1 litre water and bring slowly to a simmer, making sure all the sugar has been completely dissolved. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 mins. Leave to cool, then strain through a very fine sieve.
Sterilise your bottles by washing them in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then drying them in a warm oven. Meanwhile, rewarm the syrup until just hot, then pour into the bottles while still hot and seal.
Before giving away, add labels with serving instructions: Heat 400ml syrup with 750ml red wine or cider and some slices of orange or apple. Syrup will keep in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.