CIDER PUNCH (serves 6)
4 cups apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
Pinch of salt
1 orange (or more for garnish)
3/4 cup apple brandy or bourbon
- Combine cider, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a saucepan. Halve the orange; squeeze the juice into the pan and add the peels. Bring to a simmer, then reomve from the heat and let steep 10-15 minuts. Strain into a pitcher and add brand or bourbon. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve in tall glasses on the rocks or reheat and serve warm in punch mugs. Garnish with orange slices
COCOA COLADA (serves 4)
2 (14-oz) cans coconut milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz milk chocolate, chopped
- Bring coconut milk and water to a simmer over low heat. Add sugar and chocolate. Whisk to melt. Spike with rum to taste and garnish with coconut.
MAMA'S LITTLE HELPER (serves 1)
1 1/4 oz gin
Splash fresh lime juice
Splash simple syrup
- Slice a piece of cucumber and reserve for garnish. Pell, halve and seed the remaining cucumber. puree in a blender until smooth, then strain through a fine mesh sieve.
- Fill a highball glass 3/4 of the way with ice. Add 2 oz cucumber puree, gin, lime juice and simple syrup. (To make a batch of simple syrup, simmer equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves, then cool.) Fill the glass with seltzer and stir again. Garnish with the reserved cucumber slice
CRANBERRY PUNCH PIZZAZZ (serves 18)
8 cardamom pods
4 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks, broken
12 whole cloves
1 can (11.5 oz) frozen cranberry juice concentrate
4 cups merlot or other red wine
1/3 cup honey
Cranberries and orange slices for garnish
- Cut a 6" square from a double thickness of cotton cheesecloth to make a spice bag. Pinch the cardamom pods to break. Center the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves on the cheesecloth, bring up the corners and tie closed with clean kitchen string.
- In a slow cooker, mix juice concentrate with water according to the directions. Stir in wine and honey; add the spice bag. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high 2-2 1/2 hours. Remove and discard the spice bag. Ladle the punch into glasses and garnish.
Have a safe, fun and delicous New Year's Eve!