Punch It

Make Your Holiday Gatherings Sparkle This Season With These Fabulous Holiday Punch Recipes

If you’re looking for a fun drink to serve guests over the holidays, consider punch. Introduced to the Western world by British sailors whose beer rations had grown rancid, punch became an inexpensive social drink beloved by college students and 1950s housewives alike. There’s something to be said for a holiday drink that can be mixed in advance, will serve a large number of guests, and will enable them to bond over a shared experience. And there are so many recipes. We’ve asked local experts to share their favorites, so sit back and raise a glass to the drink that packs … wait for it … a punch!

Punch_MainApple Cinnamon Punch
( Makes about 10 8-ounce servings )
Andrea Comeau, catering manager for Andover Classic Wines, created the following recipe to serve at several events she’s catered. “The Calvados apple liqueur is amazing,” she says. “It gives this punch a nice kick.”

  • 2 cups cranberry juice 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 bottles of dry hard cider (try Angry Orchard)
  • 4 ounces cinnamon infused simple syrup
  • 8 ounces Calvados apple liqueur (adjust to suit desired strength)

Simple syrup: In a small saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil and stir in two cups of sugar until dissolved. Add two cinnamon sticks and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool and steep. (You can leave in the cinnamon sticks for a few hours for a stronger taste if desired.) Strain and refrigerate until ready to use.

Punch: Combine cranberry juice, hard cider, simple syrup and apple liqueur in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Add ice or an ice ring. Mix and add hard cider right before serving (carbonation will fade if served too long after the hard cider is added).

 

Punch-2

Sparkling Holiday Punch
( Makes 16 cups, serves 12 )
Priscilla Lane-Rondeau, owner of 900 Degrees in Epping and Manchester, N.H., credits her friend Christine Reagan for the following recipe. “Christine has always been the ‘hostess with the mostess’ — everyone loves going to her house,” Lane-Rondeau says. “She’s the person who taught me the most about entertaining and helped me become a great host to my customers.”

  • 1 cup triple sec 1/2 cup Chambord 1 cup brandy
  • 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice 1 quart ginger ale
  • 2 chilled 750-milliliter bottles of Champagne

Combine first four ingredients and chill 4 hours (or more). In a large punch bowl, combine chilled mix, ginger ale and Champagne. Add ice. (Note from Lane-Rondeau: This goes down really easy, so carolers take warning!)

 

Punch3Shirley Ginger Punch
( Makes about 10 8-ounce servings )
Comeau has fond memories of growing up with her mother’s huge Italian family. “I’m not sure how my Nana and Papa are still sane, but when my mom, her brother and all her sisters would go out for a night, my grandparents would have my 10-plus cousins and I sleep over,” she says. Two things were expected when going to Nana’s for a sleepover, Comeau says: a walk to the local convenience store to buy candy and ice cream, and Shirley Temples for everyone. “I guess you could say that that was when my mixology interest sparked, because I always needed to help with making the Shirley Temples while my cousins waited patiently,” she says. The following recipe is her twist on an adult Shirley Temple.

  • 1 cup maraschino cherries in juice 4 cups orange juice
  • 4 cups ginger ale 1 12-ounce can ginger beer
  • 5 ounces vodka (adjust to suit desired strength)
  • 10 -12 mint leaves

Add mint, juice from cherries, vodka and orange juice to a large pitcher or punch bowl. Add ice or an ice ring. Stir to release mint oils. Add ginger beer and ginger ale right before serving.

 

Punch4Nutcracker
( Serves 1 )
Although not exactly a punch (it’s tricky to make in large quantities) this creamy concoction has been a holiday customer favorite for years, Lane-Rondeau says.

Combine 2 ounces each of:

  •  Faretti Biscotti
  • Amaretto
  • Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur

Shake vigorously with ice, then strain into a chilled martini glass rimmed with finely crushed cinnamon-sugar graham cracker crumbs.

 

Andover Classic Wines: Andover, Mass  /  (978) 470-0500  /  AndoverLiquors.com

900 Degrees: Epping, N.H.  /  (603) 734-2809
Manchester, N.H.  /  (603) 641-0900  /  900Degrees.com

Photos by Kevin Harkins.

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