It's the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.....
Which means that for all of us that love to host and entertain, it's GO TIME! And while wine and spirits may not be the reason for the season..... we definitely think they play a key role! I'll be posting a series over the next few weeks I'm calling 'A Very Lush Holiday': tips and tricks on how to ACE the holiday hosting this year, from cocktail recipes to wine intel to inspiration on attire, decor, and food!
I'll be sharing some of my own secrets, as well as rounding up some of my expert friends to drop some knowledge on you as well. First up is a punch recipe from my friend Katie Byrum, bartender at The Up & Up, one of the top craft cocktail bars in NYC. My brother and I have been serving a concoction called "Crangria" (a Cranberry twist on Sangria) at Thanksgiving for years, but this year Katie elevated it and it was KILLER!
I love this for a holiday party, not only because it's delish and so festive but it's also very low-maintenance. Rather than spending your whole evening making cocktails for people, put a bowl of punch out and let people help themselves (as we say in the biz, 'set it and forget it'. Genius.)
Cranberry Hibiscus Punch
9 cups (72 oz) dry hard cider (We used Citizen Cider's "Dirty Mayor")
½ cup Neversink apple brandy
½ cup Laird’s 100-proof apple brandy
1 cup cranberry-hibiscus syrup (recipe below)
Cranberry ice cubes (pop some cranberries in an ice cube tray and just add water & freeze)
Garnish with sprigs of rosemary and orange wheels.
For the SYRUP:
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
¾ cup water
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 orange peel
¼ cup dried hibiscus
Place all ingredients except orange and hibiscus in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir continually. When cranberry skins start to pop, lightly mash with wooden spoon. Remove from heat, add orange and hibiscus, let cool, strain.