A Collection of Holiday Feasting Recipes – Chapter 3 of 7 – Festive Drinks for All

Christmas punch bowl

Nothing says party to me like a punch bowl. When I get my punch bowl out, it is usually to make something special for the designated drivers and youth in our crowd. Having someone fuss over a special drink for them, makes them feel as cared for as the other guests and that’s what hospitality is all about.

Still, if you are going to make a boozy punch the general formula is this – booze, more booze, fizzy beverage, spice and ice. Punch is easier than serving individual drinks and now that you know the formula, you can come up with endless “punch lines.” Read on for a bevy of holiday beverage ideas.

Non-alcohol drinks are more interesting

No booze

It used to be that non-alcoholic beverages at a party were sticky sweet things. Sober sippers now have reasons to rejoice as mock-tails have become more culinary in keeping with current cocktail trends.

One of my go-to sources of inspiration for non-booze creations is called Seedlip.  According to the company, they are the world’s first non-alcohol distillation. Whether you like their grassy herbal or more spicy distillation, paired with some of the cool bitters available through The Silk Road Spice Merchant, I believe a person would never feel they are missing out on the cocktail scene given the complexity of flavours you can achieve with this innovation. Check out their website for fantastic recipes.

I also love IKEA’s inexpensive cordials of lingonberry and elderflower. And, there’s nothing like the smell or taste of a big pot of apple cider with a few cinnamon sticks afloat in it.   Here’s a few more of our family favourites.

Black Currant Ale
1 cup – Kayben Farms’ black currant punch base
2 litres ginger ale
2 limes, cut in 8 wedges

Pour the black currant syrup and ginger ale in a punch bowl and add the lime wedges and ice and enjoy. Kids especially love this. It’s very Harry Potter.
Tip: The black currant punch base makes a really interesting Purple Martian Martini – just add a 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce of vodka or gin and 1/2 ounce of vermouth.

Virgin Moscow Mule
1 8-ounce bottle The Ginger People organic ginger syrup
1 litre Lime-ade
2 litres sparkling water
2 limes, cut in 8 wedges
½ cup frozen cranberries

Pour all of the above into a punch bowl and stir before serving each cup (the ginger tends to settle).

Tree-trimming Punch (from the Canadian Living Christmas Cookbook)

3 bottles white grape juice, chilled
750 ml soda water, chilled
1 Tablespoon Angostura bitters
1 Ice ring*
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced

Combine the juice, soda water, Angostura bitters in a punch bowl and add the ice ring.
*To make the ice ring, pour a thin layer of water in to a ring mold and place in the freezer until mostly frozen. Arrange the lemon and lime slices around the ring, cover them with water and freeze until solid. Pour hot water on the outside of the mold and crack it into the punch when it is time to serve it to your guests.

Booze-y Bests

Classic Eggnog (from Canadian Living Holiday Favourites, Fall 2011)

If it doesn’t kill you, you’ll have a great time.

16 egg yolks
1½ cups icing sugar
3¾ cups milk
3 cups whipping cream – divided into three portions
½ teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups bourbon, or dark rum and/or brandy
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a saucepan until smooth. Whisk in the milk and 1/2 cup of the cream and cook over medium heat, stirring without boiling, until thick enough to coat the spoon, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in ¾ cup cream and vanilla; strain into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about thirty minutes.
Whisk in the bourbon, once cool, cover and chill for two hours.
Transfer to a punch bowl then lightly whip the remaining cream; fold it into the eggnog and sprinkle the top with the nutmeg.

No Ho Ho Hum Egg Nog
Punch up a ho-hum eggnog by adding a Canadian made alternative to rum, the very delicious “Sortilege” – a Canadian whisky and maple syrup liqueur. Or, try Jost’s Maple wine from Nova Scotia.

Glogg – aka Mulled Wine

My Swedish father-in-law called this glogg the first time I made it and the name stuck.

1 cup golden raisins
2 cups light rum
2 litres apple cider
2 litres of white or red wine
4 cups orange juice
½ cup brown sugar
8 to 10 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks

Place all the ingredients in a large pot and slowly bring to a simmer over medium heat. Enjoy the smell throughout your home and enjoy the feeling as you sip it.

A Sparkling Situation

This is a punch for adults only and comes from my very sophisticated friend Peggy. After a few of these, the whole world will sparkle but, I can’t guarantee what the next day will be like. Peggy drinks it Christmas morning.

1 bottle of your favourite champagne
1 whole bottle of Grand Marnier
! bottle of cranberry juice
1 orange, sliced
1 cup frozen cranberries

Pour all the ingredients into a punch bowl, add ice, the orange slices and frozen cranberries.

The Brazilian Caiparinha - photo - Karen Anderson

The Caipirinha (pronounced Kie-purr-reen-ya)

And now for something so cool it sizzles.

1 lime, quartered
1-2 Tablespoons cane sugar – or to taste
3 Tablespoons of cachaca liqueur
1 teaspoon gin
Crushed ice

Muddle the lime in a highball glass with sugar to taste. Add the cachaca, gin and crushed ice. Serve topped with a cranberry.

Pumpkin Martinis
Find the recipe here. Wow, these are soooo good! Thanks to my neighbour Steve for the introduction.

Pumpkin Martini - photo - Karen Anderson

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