It feels like forever since I was last in my kitchen mixing up cocktails. The holidays have a way of taking over and leaving you hung-over from copious amounts of food, booze and togetherness. It’s no wonder that once January comes we retreat into our homes for a social hibernation. Thankfully before we have a chance to declare ourselves hermits and vow never to leave the homestead…the only one that gets me is the cat!…there’s the Super Bowl.
Being married to a man who works in the produce industry, I’m used to coming home to a bag… or two… or even a case of product that’s too close to expiration to sell (but still perfectly good). This week I arrived home from work to find cranberries. What the heck am I supposed to do with cranberries?
The answer? Punch!
Punch is an awesome drink that you can make ahead of time in large batches. And it’s super simple cocktail to make. When you’re creating your own punch remember the 5 basics: Liquor + Sugar + Citrus + Spice/Tea + Water.
You could make punch without the spice or tea but where’s the fun in that? Think of the ooh’s and aah’s you’d get when you tell your friends that you made a blackberry punch cocktail with blackberry syrup, crème de cassis, gin, lemon juice and cinnamon (garnished with a sprig of mint). You’re obnoxious friend that thinks she’s the next Martha Stewart (or Gwyneth Paltrow) won’t know what to do with herself.
Cranberry Winter Punch
2 oz. Lemon Juice
3 oz. Lillet Rouge (or Sweet Vermouth)
6 oz. Cranberry Grande Marnier Syrup (see below)
6 oz. Ransom Old Tom Gin
6 oz. Thomas Tew Rum
6 oz. Canadian Whiskey
6 oz. Filtered Water
Top with ice. Serve Cold.
Optional: Serve with club soda. Garnish with cinnamon stick and lemon twist.
Makes approx. 10 servings (3.5 oz per serving)
Cranberry Grande Marnier Syrup
16 oz 2:2 Simple Syrup
16 oz Cranberries (thaw if frozen)
1-2 Cinnamon Sticks
¼ oz. Vanilla
1 oz. Grande Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
Bring simple syrup to a slow boil. Add cinnamon, vanilla, and orange liqueur. Stir. Slowly add cranberries. Once the skin start to break on a few cranberries remove from heat. Allow to cool. Strain 6 ounces for punch. Store the rest with cranberries in an air tight container. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
I made the syrup a little differently than I usually do. I decided to break out the kitchen scale and weigh my ingredients rather than trusting the measuring cup. Glad I did. I discovered that 16 oz. (1 lb) of granulated sugar is actually a little over what my measuring cup was telling me. And personally, I think weighing made for a better, richer syrup. I used a 2:2 ratio to balance the tartness of the cranberries.
If you find that the punch is a little strong, simply top with club soda or increase the water.
I hope you’ll make this punch recipe for your next party. It’s simple. It’s fun. And will impress your friends (and isn’t that what’s important?).