Fix Up The Dreaded Holiday Punch

pitcher and glasses filled with cranberry sangria

cranberry-sangria-cl-lWe’ve all been to that holiday party, the one with the too-large bowl of punch in the center of the buffet table – and it looks just a little bit suspicious. Who knows what odd concoction the host might have dreamed up! The most entertaining part about the punch, generally, is who will end up spiking it and with what.

Gathering around a bowl of punch brings people together; these are, presumably, people you want to get together with. Hosting a party that has a few complicated cocktails on the menu may seem like a great way to seem like you care about your guests, but in reality, it means you’ll spend most of your time in the kitchen mixing ingredients together.

David Wondrich, author of Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, told the Washington Post that his research on the history of punch indicates that the beverage most likely came ashore with the English and Dutch sailors returning from their exploits in various colonies around the early 1600s. “There’s a whiff of piracy in punch, and the citrus that’s key in so many classic recipes probably was originally a means of warding off scurvy,” explained this article in the Post.

It’s safe to say that nowadays, we’re more concerned with making merry than holding off disease. We want to help you out by giving you a fantastic recipe from Coastal Living to have on hand, so the next time you get your Christmas or New Year’s party on, you can be the one who brought that great punch! You can usually find it on the menu at our holiday dinners, too!

Cranberry Sangria
Makes 6 cups

2 cup Fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1 750ml Bottle fruity red wine
1/2 cup Brandy
1 cup Fresh orange juice
Garnishes: Fresh cranberries; orange, lemon and lime slices

1. Bring first three ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer five minutes or until cranberries pop. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, using the back of a spoon to squeeze out juice. Discard solids.

2. Transfer cranberry mixture to a large pitcher. Stir in wine, brandy and orange juice. Chill two hours. Serve over ice; garnish with cranberries and fruit slices, if desired.

Note: To serve as a warm mulled cocktail, transfer mixture to a Dutch oven and heat just until it begins to boil. Garnish, if desired. A fruit-forward red wine, such as Beaujolais or Zinfandel, works well for wine cocktails like this one.

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