Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Punch: For making
merry in a major way

It’s the time of year to make merry in a major way, and I always find a great way to do that is with an awesome festive punch.
   I’ve made it a bit of tradition to try a new punch each holiday season.
   This year’s selection is Christmas Punch from Martha Stewart Living magazine.
   It’s a wonderfully refreshing combination of pomegranate and cranberry juices, vodka and orange-flavored liqueur. Serve it with some festive appetizers and the party will be started.
   Although the recipe makes 12-16 servings, implying it’s meant for a crowd, this punch also works for the smallest of get-togethers. Just scale back the ingredient measurements in the recipe, and swap the punch bowl for a pitcher.
   The punch can be made in advance, which can be very helpful when things get busy. Combine all the ingredients, except the club soda, and chill them in a pitcher or bowl. Add the freshly-opened club soda just before serving.
   A simple syrup is prepared on the stovetop from sugar and water. It’s cooled and refrigerated until it’s cold.
   Chilled pomegranate juice and cranberry juice (I used cranberry cocktail), vodka, Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur (Grand Marnier, for example), fresh lemon juice and the simple syrup are combined.
   If serving right away, add the club soda. If serving later, refrigerate the punch and add club soda just before serving.
   Although I served the punch over ice, I didn’t bother freezing cranberries in the ice cubes as the recipe suggests.

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