With so many parties in the works, how does one gather all the top dogs under your mistletoe? The answer to this question is quite obvious: Have better booze than the next man and make it simple to enjoy.
It really doesn't get much more simple than punch when it comes to catering a wallet-friendly gathering. As an added bonus, it creates a hub for your guests who don't know each other to meet around the "flowing bowl". Here are three recipes that will keep your guests well watered.
Serves 6 to 8
120ml Fresh lemon juice
120ml Fresh orange juice
120ml Fresh mandarin juice
100ml Ginger syrup
100ml Pomegranate grenadine
400ml Fair Juniper gin
3 Half bottles of dry champagne (Gosset or MUMM Cordon Rouge works well)
4 Drops of grape food colouring, for effect
1. It's best to use fresh juice whenever possible. Start by squeezing or juicing all of the fruit needed, this will form your citrus base.
2. Next, you will need to combine this with the ginger syrup, pomegranate grenadine, and gin. At this point, you will want to taste the punch without the addition of water to judge its sweet/sour balance. If you're happy, slowly add the 120ml of water in small increments, tasting as you go. Remember it's going to be on ice, so if you dilute it too much initially, it will only weaken the concotion as the ice melts. The key is to make sure there's a big burst of citrus whilst the booze remains prominent.
3. Once you're happy with the dilution, mix the grape food colouring in and you can keep the punch in the fridge up to 6 hours. When ready to serve, fill your punch bowl with ice, add the punch, filling it to about 75%. Then you're ready to open your half bottles of champagne. Once opened, carefully place them neck down into the punch. Every time you ladle some punch into a glass it will be replaced by another burst of delicious bubbly.
PINK LADY PUNCH
Serves 6 to 8
200ml Fresh lime juice
1L of Cloudy apple juice
200g Demerara sugar
300ml Dad's Hat Rye Whisky
15ml Angostura bitters
300ml Del Professore Sweet Vermouth
4 Star anise
3 Cinnamon sticks
1. This winter warmer is quick and easy to make. Start by adding the lime juice, apple juice and demerara sugar to your slow cooker or pan on a low heat, stirring regularly to dissolve the sugar.
2. Next, add the Rye whisky, Angostura and Sweet Vermouth. Once this is all at temperature (no more than 45 degrees), you can add your spices. I like to wrap my spices in a micro fibre cloth so that they are easy to remove later once you're happy with the amount of spice that has been infused. Leave this mixture stewing for around 15 minutes, making sure to stir it every 5 minutes and it will be ready to serve.
3. If it proves too strong, sweet, or sour, feel free to adjust it by adding water, lime or sugar respectively. Just remember to let it come back to temperature before serving.
CHRISTMAS IN CREOLE
Serves 6 to 8
300ml Fresh lemon juice
200ml Orgeat syrup
300ml VSOP Brandy
300ml 8-year-old Rum Nation Jamaica Rum
200ml White Puerto Rican rum
1.5L Pineapple juice
20ml Peychaud's bitters
1. This New Orleans style punch is fantastically boozy without being too overpowering. Quite simply combine all of the ingredients in your punch bowl, making sure to mix well.
2. Add ice and you're ready to serve.
If you are expecting your guests to arrive at different times throughout the night, use bigger blocks of ice to slow dilution and keep that punch cold. I like to freeze blocks of ice in small plastic take away containers the night before a party.
For last week's Saturday Sessions, click here. To view more recipes, click here.