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Yuletide Punch

This image courtesy of Tim Turner

Here’s to us all, God bless us everyone! --Tiny Tim's Toast from A Christmas Story Serving a Holiday Punch is a most delightful custom, be it celebrating the first snowfall of the season with a couple of Tom & Jerry’s, or mixing up a bowl of egg nog to see the family through a long night of Christmas Eve tree trimming. Most countries have their own Holiday Punch traditions. There is Sweden’s Glögg, Britain’s Wassail Bowl, Germany’s Gross-mutters Punch, and so on. Each is traditionally served at a gathering of loved ones during the holidays, to accentuate the season’s spirit of joy and happiness. Yuletide Punch is a lighter, fruit-based alternative to the traditional nag, and a little less complicated to prepare. One of the obvious advantages of serving a batch recipe like this one is that most of the recipe can and should be seen to in advance. More than a matter of convenience, allowing the punch to rest allows its ingredients to intermingle, overnight if possible. Final assemblage, however, should take place immediately prior to serving-if possible, just as the first guests are crossing the threshold. This keeps the bubbles from dissipating and the ice mould from overdiluting the recipe before it can be enjoyed. Plus, the host is more likely to get out of the kitchen and join the party. With a little imagination and pre-party organization, it is possible to make a punch that looks great and tastes even better. A few tips to remember: • Always use fresh, seasonal fruits and juices • Always use premium spirits and wines • Avoid small cube ice, and instead make a large ice mould; this keeps your Punch cold without diluting it and it’s easier to maneuver with a serving ladle • If you’re using sparkling wine or carbonated beverages, make sure they are well chilled and wait until the very last minute to add, since the bubbles will soon dissipate • Be sure to chill your Punch very well in advance, as the ice mould is used to keep the Punch cold, not to chill room-temperature ingredients • If using fresh berries, always freeze them first to better maintain the look and shape of the fruit

Serves24 servings

CostSplurge

Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe CourseBeverage

Type of DishAlcoholic Beverage, Beverage, Punch

Ingredients

  • 2 bottles chilled champagne
  • 32 oz (1 liter) Absolut Mandarin vodka
  • 16 oz (500 ml) Marie Brizard Cassis de Bordeaux
  • 32 oz (1 liter) white grape juice
  • 16 oz (500 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 16 oz (500 ml) fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 8 oz (240 ml) simple syrup
  • 2 pints blackberries
  • 2 pints raspberries
  • 2-3 oranges, thinly sliced and quartered
  • 2-3 lemons, thinly sliced and quartered

Instructions

  1. To make fruit ice moulds, I use a Bundt cake pan. The amount of fruit you will need depends on the size of your mould-I generally use 2 pints each of blackberries and raspberries, plus one small navel orange and one lemon cut into wheels. I begin by filling the mould ¼ full of water and adding red raspberries, blackberries, and orange and lemon wheels. I allow it to freeze and add another layer, and so on, until it is full.

  2. Premix the vodka, cassis, white grape juice, fresh lemon juice, fresh orange juice, and simple syrup in a large container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least 3 hours, preferably over night). Transfer to a large punch bowl. Add one pint each of frozen black-berries and raspberries, 2 to 3 small oranges and lemons thinly sliced and quartered, fruit ice mould, and chilled champagne just prior to serving. Serve in punch cups.

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