Drag out your Grandmother’s punchbowl… punch has gotten a makeover!
Big batch cocktails served in a pretty punchbowl or large bowl have become trendy. Punchbowls are easy to find (at the moment) at yard sales, thrift stores, or antique stores and are far more elegant than the dispensers we’ve seen so much of the past few years, especially for a holiday soiree. I went up into my dad’s attic to dig out my mom’s old punchbowl for this story and was happy to have it grace our holiday table once again.
An ice ring, made of the ingredients you’ve used in the punch is functional and decorative, too. Make them with a Bundt pan or tube pan. Start with a cup of liquid in the bottom and freeze. Add fruit or herbs and another cup of chilled liquid. Freeze. Continue until you’ve got the look you want. To release the mold, sit the pan in some warm water for a few seconds. It will easily release from the pan. Float it in your punchbowl once you’ve filled it. If the party will last several hours, you may want to make two or three of these or have ice ready once it melts.
Mix up a big batch of one of these cocktails for your next gathering. Guests can serve themselves so there are minimal bartending duties. Keep back up supplies cold in the refrigerator or in a cooler under your bar so you can refill as necessary. I use gallon containers from the restaurant supply store. They are narrow so they don’t take up a lot of space in the fridge.
I was asked for some recipes featuring Seagram's Escapes for big batch cocktails that would be appropriate for the holidays. Here is what I came up with. Hope you enjoy!
Sangria is one of my favorite beverages to make for a party because you can put just about anything in it to compliment your menu. For this Winter Sangria, I wanted warm, holiday notes of orange, and cinnamon, and a hint of clove. Serve chilled or over ice.
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup water
4 whole cloves
2 oranges, sliced into wheels
2 red apples, diced into large chunks
1 green apple, diced into large chunks
1 cup cranberries, sliced in half
2 (750 ml) bottles red wine
1 cup brandy
1 teaspoon orange bitters (can substitute Angostura bitters)
3 bottles Seagram’s Escapes Sangria
Cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)
To make the simple syrup: Add sugar and water to a saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to help dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat. Add the cloves. Allow to cool completely. Strain to remove the cloves, discard the cloves. Set aside. (Note: Simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for a week or more.)
To make the Sangria: Combine the simple syrup, wine, brandy, and fruit together in a large container several hours (up to 24 hours ahead) before you plan to serve it so the fruit can infuse the wine.
To serve, pour the chilled wine mixture into a punchbowl or large pitcher. Add the bitters and the Seagram’s Escapes Sangria. Stir gently. Serve chilled with a cinnamon stick for garnish.
Yield: About 2 ½ quarts
LEMON LIME CHAMPAGNE FIZZ
Lemon lime punch is always a hit. By adding some lemon and lime wheels plus a few cranberries to an ice ring, you make it even more festive for the holiday season. Try adding lemon, lime, or orange sherbet for a dessert cocktail your guests will love.
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
24 fresh mint leaves plus more for garnish
1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice
2 cups fresh lime juice
½ cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1 (750 ml) bottle citrus vodka
1 (750-ml) bottle Champagne or sparkling wine
3 bottles Seagram’s Escapes Lime Margarita
Lemon and limes, sliced for garnish
To make the simple syrup: Add sugar and water to a saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to help dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat. Add the mint leaves. Allow to cool completely. Strain to remove the mint. Discard the mint. Chill. (Note: Simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for a week or more.)
To make the punch: Stir together the juices, mint syrup, and 2 cups water. Check the sweetness. You can add a bit more juice or sugar to your taste. Add the vodka and orange liqueur. Chill for at least 3 hours. When you are ready to serve, add the vodka mixture to the punchbowl. Carefully pour in the sparkling wine and Seagram’s Escapes. Add ice or an ice ring and the additional mint for garnish. Serve over ice.
Yield: About 1 ½ gallons of punch
POMEGRANATE RASPBERRY PUNCH
Growing up, we always had a sherbet punch for holidays and birthdays. It was simple. The only ingredients were orange or lime sherbet and chilled ginger ale, but it was served in a punchbowl making it seem so elegant. Here’s an updated, boozy version of that old school holiday favorite, make fresh and new with raspberry and rosemary.
1 quart pomegranate juice
1 quart white cranberry juice
1 cup cranberry juice
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 (750 ml) bottle Pama Liqueur
1 (750 ml) bottle raspberry vodka
2 pints raspberry sorbet or sherbet
4 bottles Seagram’s Escapes Black Cherry Fizz
1 quart ginger ale, optional
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 cup fresh raspberries for garnish
Combine the first six ingredients in a large container. Chill thoroughly, at least 2 hours. Just before serving, pour into a punchbowl. Add the Seagram’s Escapes Black Cherry Fizz and scoop in large scoops of the sorbet until you have enough to fill the surface. (Save some sorbet to add in a bit more as it melts.) If desired, add a large splash of ginger ale to create some additional fizz. Add fresh rosemary and raspberries for garnish.