Holiday Red Sangria Punch
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: In Spain, traditional New Year's Eve celebrations are not complete without grapes. When the clock strikes midnight, custom calls for eating 12 grapes in short order to ensure good fortune in the coming year. This can be made up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerated, without the ice. Adapted from Kelsey Rood of Cafe Citron in Washington, D.C.
• 5 tbsp. sugar
• 1 (750 milliliters) bottle red wine, such as merlot or cabernet
• 5 oz. (5/8 c.) apple-flavored liqueur
• 7 1/2 oz. ( 3/4 c. plus 3 tbsp.) orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
• 1 c. orange juice
• 1 c. ginger ale
• 3 tbsp. lemon juice
• 12 seedless red grapes
• 4 medium red apples, cored and cut into 1/2-in. cubes
• 3 medium oranges, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-in. cubes
Place the sugar in a 48-ounce pitcher. Fill 3/4 full with ice cubes or crushed ice. Add the wine and the 2 liqueurs (apple- and orange-flavored), stirring to combine. Add the orange juice, ginger ale and lemon juice, then the grapes and cutup fruit.
If you have a similar-size pitcher, pour the sangria back and forth 4 times to blend; or use a long-handled spoon to stir the drink well.
Let the sangria sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then serve.
Note: An easy aperitif punch to set out before a holiday feast, this incorporates classic flavor elements — orange and ginger — of cranberry sauce into a festive drink for toasting. Use a dry Brut-style sparkling wine, and make sure to buy cranberry juice cocktail, not unsweetened cranberry juice (the latter is less sweet and more tartly bitter). A ginger liqueur that works well is Domaine de Canton. Plan ahead to freeze the block of punch ice overnight. From M. Carrie Allan.
• Water, for punch ice (see Note)
• 1 large, seedless orange
• 1 tsp. orange bitters
• 6 oz. (3/4 c.) ginger liqueur (see Note)
• 10 oz. Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail (see Note)
• 1 chilled (750-milliliter) bottle Brut-style sparkling wine
Prepare a block of ice for the punch by freezing a cereal bowl or Tupperware dish full of water.
Put the ice in a punch bowl. Cut the orange into thin wheels and distribute them around the punch bowl.
Combine the bitters, ginger liqueur and cranberry juice cocktail in a pitcher, stirring to incorporate. Pour the mixture gradually over the punch ice, then gently pour in the chilled sparkling wine. Stir gently to mix, then ladle into cocktail coupes.
Note: Here's the quintessential holiday drink. Start with a little less alcohol if you like, and add more to taste: The more alcohol in the drink, the longer the shelf life. With the minimum amount of alcohol, it should be good for at least 1 week. From the Washington Post.
• 12 egg yolks
• 1 c. sugar
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
• 3 c. heavy whipping cream, divided
• 3 c. whole milk, divided
• 2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/3 c. gold rum
• 1/3 c. dark rum
• 1/3 c. brandy
• 1 c. bourbon
Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large saucepan until well blended. Whisk in 2 cups heavy whipping cream and 2 cups milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for at least 30 minutes, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (run your finger across the back of the spoon, and it should leave behind a clean trail that the mixture does not seep into). Do not overheat, or the eggs will coagulate.
Strain the mixture into a storage container, discarding any solids in the strainer. Whisk in the remaining 1 cup milk, the remaining 1 cup cream, vanilla extract, rums, brandy and bourbon. Refrigerate for several hours, until chilled, then store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Note: Horchata is a traditional refresher in Spain and Latin America, typically made with almonds and rice or other grains. Here, it is combined with an aged, spice-infused tequila for a spicy, warming (and vegan) eggnog substitute. It can be served warm or cold. The horchata mixture needs to be refrigerated/chilled for at least 8 hours and up to overnight. You'll have turbinado syrup left over; it can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Toast the almonds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, shaking the pan as needed to prevent scorching, until the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned. Cool completely before using. To make turbinado syrup, combine 1 cup turbinado sugar with 1/2 cup water in a pan, and heat gently over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cook for a few minutes; cool completely before using. Adapted from Brook Vandecar of Rosa Mexicano.
• 1 tsp. chipotle powder
• 500 milliliters (about 2 c.) añejo tequila or reposado tequila, such as Herradura añejo
• 2 c. uncooked long-grain brown rice, ground to powder in a spice grinder
• 1 c. lightly toasted almonds, ground to powder in a spice grinder (see Note)
• 2 (3-in.) cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
• 3 c. hot (not quite boiling) water
• 1 c. cold water
• 1 (about 13 oz.) can of coconut milk
• 1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract
• 4 oz. (1/2 c.) turbinado syrup (see Note)
To infuse the tequila: Dry-roast the chipotle powder briefly in a small, dry skillet until it's fragrant. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Add the tequila, stirring to blend well. Allow the mixture to sit for 1 to 3 minutes, tasting it frequently to assess the spice level — the infusion will happen quickly. When it's spiced to your liking, strain the liquid through a coffee filter into a jar or bottle and reserve for the drinks.
To make the horchata mixture: Combine the ground rice, ground almonds and cinnamon sticks in a large bowl and cover them with the hot water. Stir the mixture together, then cover it and allow it to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth into a blender jar, reserving the liquid and discarding the solids. Add the cold water, coconut milk, vanilla extract and turbinado syrup; blend on high speed until well incorporated; the yield of the horchata is about 5 1/2 cups, and it should have the consistency of heavy cream.
To serve cold: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 4 ounces (1/2 cup) horchata and 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) of the infused tequila (for a single serving). Shake well, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass.
To serve warm, punch-style: Heat the horchata gently over medium-low heat. Add 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) infused tequila to each small mug, then top with ladled horchata.
Note: Ward off winter with this traditional Swedish beverage, which will make your house smell wonderful. From the Washington Post.
• 10 whole black or brown cardamom pods, cracked
• 1 to 2 (3-in.) cinnamon sticks
• 1/2 oz. (1 tbsp.) crystallized ginger
• 10 whole cloves
• 1 tsp. dried orange peel
• 1/2 c. golden or dark raisins
• 1/2 c. sugar
• 1 (750-milliliter) bottle good red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
• 3/4 c. vodka, optional
Combine the cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks to taste, ginger, cloves, dried orange peel, raisins, sugar and wine in a large saucepan over medium or medium-low heat. Stir to mix well; add the vodka, if using. Cook until it is warmed through and small bubbles begin to form at the edges; do not let it come to a boil. The glögg will be fragrant.
Cover and let the mixture steep overnight at room temperature. When ready to serve, strain the mixture and reheat over low heat until warmed through. Serve warm.