Creaking door noises. Ghoulish wails. Someone breaking your favorite antique champagne coupe! THE HORROR!!!
Halloween is a holiday that transitions nicely from childhood to your drinking years. But don’t think that means you need to be serious. Are you a mad scientist this year? Perfect, there’s some glassware for that. Going more the cannibal route? Then giant skull punch bowl it is! If you’re done with the silly stuff, then make sure your booze is wearing a little black dress, and then decide whether to risk the nice glasses for serving or just some fancy paper cups instead. Me, I’ll be serving up some blood… blood oranges that is. Happy Haunting folks!
…Because nothing says I love you more than beating a brightly colored donkey until booze falls out of it.
Are you having that oh crap moment where you just remembered you need to buy some meaningless gift for someone by Saturday? Well, if you miss the date, make up for it with something so amazing they’ll totally forget they might dump you come Tuesday. A sexy bottle of Absinthe perhaps? What about a slightly sexualized cocktail shaker? And if you get to smooching, coat your lips in some Old Fashioned-flavored lip balm. If all else fails, gather up your friends and spend your hard earned cash on a gilded mid-century ice bucket. You deserve it.
Anyway, you guys have 12 ways to win a bottle of this delicious cacao-infused rum. Enter below, but remember: You MUST BE 21 and OLDER to WIN. Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST February 11th, 2015. Please see terms and conditions below (some states unfortunately are excluded from shipping liquor to). For more information on SelvaRey Rum, please visit them at selvarey.com.Good Luck!
I’ve got a last minute round up of some drinks for all your parties tonight. Whether you require something sparkly, something overflowing, or maybe something not-too-boozy to start your night off, I’ve got some good picks for you. See you all in the New Year, and thanks for stopping by. I appreciate all of you!
I was considering putting this post up on Wednesday for Christmas Eve, but I figured you all were off doing bigger and better things and not sitting around looking at a cocktail blog. Or maybe you were here and were like, Why isn’t there a new recipe before Christmas?!?! I’m super sorry about that guys if that was you. I hope you decided instead to crack open that expensive bottle of whiskey and share it with everyone you hold dear.
But now we’re going into the post-Christmas daze and we have to start thinking about NYE parties (because we just can’t rest until January 2nd) and we need something we can batch up and serve to people and just get through the night. I bring you all this punch.
Don’t be scared! There’s a lot of steps but it’s worth it for the end result.
Yields 10 Servings
For the Sage Syrup:
1 cup (8 ounces) water
8 ounces (about 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
10 medium sage leaves
Combine sugar, water, and sage in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, remove from heat, and let sit 1 hour. Strain and store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Peel zests from lemons and orange, trying to remove as little white pith as possible. Reserve peeled fruit for another use. Toss the peels with the sugar, muddle, and let sit 6 hours or up to overnight in a nonreactive bowl, covered. Strain peels from the mixture, set liquid aside.
Pour boiling water over tea in a heat-proof container. Let steep 4 minutes. Strain and set brewed tea aside. Let cool completely before using.
For the Punch:
3 cups (24 ounces) New American style gin, such as Jack Rabbit from Beehive Distilling
1/2 cup (4 ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice from about 4 lemons
3/4 cup (6 ounces) orange curacao, such as Pierre Ferrand
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sage syrup
2 cups (16 ounces) lapsang souchong tea
Orange rounds, lemon rounds, sage leaves for garnish
Combine gin, tea, oleo-saccarum, sage syrup, lemon juice, and orange curacao in a punch bowl or other serving piece. Stir to combine. Add orange wheels, lemon wheels and sage leaves for garnish. Serve with ladle into ice-filled punch or rocks glasses.
This punch is bright and flavorful, with earthy notes from the sage and unexpected smoky tea. The lapsang souchong doesn’t overwhelm with smoke, but instead adds that extra “something” that your guests will try and place all night as they gulp glass after glass. I opted to use a new American style gin for an added dose of botanicals. Jack Rabbit has lots of sage, coriander and rose flavors, but use whatever you have on hand if this isn’t available where you are.
I may not be the biggest lover of beer, but boy do I have a lot of friends who absolutely obsess over it. You might too. So this list is for YOU!
The accoutrements are important: the right glass, the right koozie (or is it cozy? or coozy? or.. whatever), the right growler, that coaster that tells people to stay the hell away cause that is YOUR glass. If you’re looking for a gift that keeps on giving, a subscription is always nice. And for that person who is never happy with what you give them, well, then they can make their own damn beer.
But the thing about holiday parties is that you always end up staying longer than you thought, and by this point you’re drinking whatever is left. For these people, initially turning down the scotch punch, they begrudgingly took a glass after finding out someone had drank all the good champagne. And then they found themselves confounded: they really liked the punch made with scotch.
Color me amused when the same folks who seemed genuinely annoyed/disgusted/sad when told the giant bowl of punch was made with scotch later came up to me with giant grins asking again what was in that punch? Had I just made converts of this bunch?
It’s holiday time, the season of giving, so I hope you all will allow me this one time to toot my own horn and smirk just a little as person after person drank up a scotch punch they earlier swore they’d never touch. Curious about the name? If you know your holiday songs, then you’ve recognized this from the 12 Days of Christmas. My punch, with 9 integral ingredients, was for a party with this theme. The Table Set guys sure love a theme party.
Now it’s your turn to try it. Please, be honest, and let me know if I’ve made you a convert too.
For the Vanilla Cinnamon Syrup:
4 (3- or 4-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
In a medium saucepan, combine cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean seeds and pod, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Strain. The syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
For the Chai Tea:
2 cups boiling water
3 chai tea bags
Combine boiling water and tea in a heatproof container. Let steep for 4 minutes. Discard tea bags and let tea cool to room temperature before adding to punch.
For the Punch:
1 (750 ml) bottle blended Scotch, such as Monkey Shoulder
2 1/4 cups Lustau East India Solera Sherry
3/4 cup fresh juice from about 6 lemons
1 1/2 cups Vanilla Cinnamon Syrup
2 cups Chai Tea
1/8 cup Angostura bitters
6 orange wheels, star anise, ice block*, for garnish
In a punch bowl or large container, combine Scotch, sherry, lemon juice, syrup, tea, and bitters. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for 5 hours or up to overnight. When ready to serve, add an ice block and garnish as desired.
*If you want to get really festive, you can add some decorative elements to your ice block. I added extra cranberries to mine. As the night progresses and the ice melts, they’ll start popping out and floating about. So make sure whatever you use is washed and makes sense with the rest of the ingredients!
So yes, scotch is definitely present. I chose Monkey Shoulder blended scotch, which offers a strong punch of malt, smoke, and baking spice flavors, perfect for a winter punch. Next I added in some chai tea just below full strength. The tea adds a wonderful assortment of appropriate flavors: cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamom and black pepper all work beautifully with the whisky. Then I followed that up with Sherry for a little sweet nuttiness; Angostura for bitterness but also extra spice; and vanilla-laced cinnamon sugar syrup for a slightly floral and woodsy sweetness.
If you’re looking for a different take on craft cocktails, look no further than Ludlows; these little guys are amazing! Enter below and get up to 12 entries to win. Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST December 25th, 2014. Please see terms and conditions below. For more information on Ludlows, please visit them at ludlowscocktails.com. Good Luck!
While I seem to be spending all my time lately helping you figure out what YOU should be getting this holiday season, I only see it as fair that I share what I want too.
Give me a little pop of color for when I’m by the pool; I don’t mind acrylic if it means all day cocktailing and never leaving my giant lime wheel float. But when I want to get fancy, I’ll need that stack of champagne coupes and, albeit it predictably so, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Also, a place to perch myself please, with some shiny bar tools nearby and some personalized drink stirrers so I know which drink is mine. And if Santa’s feeling extra generous, that Cartier Punch Bowl set looks might fine.