Monday, November 19, 2012

Punch? Here's 3 to make for the holidays!

When I was growing up, almost every gathering included some kind of punch. I am not sure why it's gone out of style -- maybe it's because you have to make it as opposed to buying it? I don't know, but I do know that if you want to entertain with style and stay on budget, punch is a great way to go!

My MIL entertained beautifully, as did my mother and grandmother. These southern ladies almost always served punch when they partied. So, party like it's 1965 and serve punch next time you host a gathering!
Here are 3 to try during the holiday season. All of them include alcohol in the recipe, but give options to serve them with or without. You can add or subtract the alcohol, according to your taste and preference. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Cranberry Punch
1/2 gallon cranberry juice
2 750ml bottles champagne or other fizzy wine, such as prosecco OR ginger ale
1/4 c. triple sec or Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
Sliced oranges
Chill your ingredients and pour it them into a punch bowl.
This is nice if you freeze an ice ring made from cranberry juice with a splash of orange juice. Put some sliced oranges and a few maraschino cherries in the ring before freezing, and it will look pretty while it keeps the punch cold! Use a plastic ring mold, like you'd make jello salad in or a bundt cake pan. We served this last Christmas -- with the champagne -- and it was a BIG hit!

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

1/2 gallon apple cider
2 c. orange juice
2 tsp. whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg
2 - 3 whole cinnamon sticks OR 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 pint apple brandy (optional)
1 orange, sliced
Combine cider and sugar in a large pot. Add the spices to the pot. If you like, you can tie the spices up into a little pouch, like a bouquet garni. (**see cooks note). Bring the punch up to a boil and add the orange juice, lemon juice and brandy, if using. Turn it down to low and allow to simmer about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
** You can purchase cheesecloth specifically for this purpose at most fabric stores or kitchen supply stores (like Bed Beth and Beyond). I don't tie my spices up. Instead, I stud some orange slices with the cloves and let the oranges, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks float around in the punch.  I pour the finished punch into a crock pot set on low heat and let it simmer on the counter or the table. That way frees up your stove and lets people serve themselves. Lovely hot drink to serve at Thanksgiving or on New Years Day!

Pink Lady Punch
1 quart cranberry juice cocktail
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 quart pineapple juice
1/2 quart grape juice
2 quarts ginger ale OR 2 bottles club soda OR 2 bottles brut champagne
Chill all the juices and ginger ale or champagne. Dissolve sugar in the juices. Add the ginger ale or champagne. Makes approx. 32 1/2 c. servings. A ring mold made from grape or cranberry juice would be nice in this punch, maybe with some maraschino cherries in it. Even ice cubes made from the juices with one cherry in each would be cute! This is CLASSIC Lady Punch!
Break out that punch bowl and PARTY!

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