The holiday season is a great time for cocktails-- not that that the other seasons aren't-- but I love the ingredients and flavors of Late Autumn and Winter. The holidays also mean there will be gatherings with friends and family-- whether formal cocktail parties, or casual get-togethers-- it's always important to have a few festive cocktail recipes in your back pocket to share.
Here is a very simple punch recipe that serves a crowd (it makes about 8 cups) and draws from seasonal ingredients, so it's perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas (or any excuse to have a drink anywhere in between). Make this punch ahead of time and keep it in the fridge to chill. Keep ice separate, so it doesn't get watered down! Use this as a base recipe and tweak it to fit your taste or what you have on hand, I've given an equation to make your own mix below (please share on facebook if you do make your own!)-- check it out after the jump. Cheers!
Your New Go-To Holiday Punch: (Makes 8 Cups)
8 ounces bourbon
8 ounces Laird's Applejack or other apple brandy
32 ounces cranberry juice cocktail
8 ounces orange juice
4 ounces Spiced Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
10 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
Spiced Simple Syrup: (Makes 1 Cup)
In a small saucepan, combine:
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
4 cardamom pods
1 star anise
Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, and strain.
Your Holiday Punch Flavor Guide:
2 cups Base Liquor(s):
-Pick one or more liquors. I love bourbon this time of year because of it's warming aromatics, but use whatever you like. Vodka is great in punches because it has very little flavor, but Gin and Tequila are a bit harder to mix. Adjust this amount if you'll be adding a liqueur or topping off with a bit of sparkling wine.
5 cups Juices/Fruit Flavors: Use these flavors as a mixer
Spices/Aromatics: Infuse your simple syrup with these spices, or look for flavored liqueurs (make sure to lower the amount of base liquor if you are adding a liqueur). Also try topping with a splash of ginger-ale.