The countdown starts now—three months of eat, drink and be merry—with Thanksgiving, December holidays and New Year’s all in the mix.
Speaking of mix, how about hosts gift themselves with big batch beverage recipes, which add extra cheer to any gathering?
Signature cocktails have become de rigueur at home events, and we’re not complaining. But standing post at the beverage cart or bar area can take the fun out of any party for the host. By offering big batch beverages, hosts can mix and mingle, rather than mix, serve and repeat.
John Farrell, of Haskell’s Wine and Spirits, and Bill Princeton, of Princeton’s Liquors, offer beverage recipe recommendations to not only spice up the holiday season, but also to save time and money.
Here’s a perfect excuse get the slow cooker away from the entrée and into the beverage mix.
Mulling spices are available at most wine stores during the holiday season, but if you can’t find them, put star anise, cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a tied cheese cloth. Add a bottle or two of red wine to your crockpot or slow cooker of choice. Add the mulling spices. Use the lowest setting, and warm the wine, making sure to not boil or cook the beverage. Serve in your favorite mugs.
“Rosemary, bourbon and maple syrup—how can you go wrong?” Farrell says.
- 2 oz. simple syrup
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 oz. bourbon
- 2 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. orange marmalade
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
- 1 egg white
Boil simple syrup and one sprig of rosemary in a small saucepan; cool. Discard rosemary, and transfer syrup to a cocktail shaker with bourbon, lemon juice and marmalade. Add ice, shake until chilled and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Add maple syrup, orange juice and egg white to the shaker; shake until frothy. Spoon the froth over the top of the cocktail; garnish with remaining rosemary sprig.
Cheers to a fruity drink for the tots, teens and teetotalers.
A day before: Using a Bundt cake pan, add a variety of fruits (berries and orange and apple slices)—the more the merrier. Fill the pan with water to cover the fruit; put in the freezer.
The day of serving: In a punch bowl, add 2 liters of Sprite and 2-3 oz. of grenadine syrup; stir together. Take the Bundt pan out of the freezer, remove the ice mold from the pan, and place the ice mold in the punch bowl. The ice mold will not only serve as a beautiful centerpiece to your liquified work of art, but it will also keep the drink cold.
Grapefruit Beer Punch
Invite a tart and tangy change to your holiday beverage pace.
- 4 cups Cantilever gin
- 2 cups fresh grapefruit juice
- 5 cups Dreamyard India pale ale, chilled
Combine the Cantilever gin and grapefruit juice in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Cover and chill for at least two hours or overnight. Add Dreamyard IPA just before serving, and ladle into ice-filled punch or lowball glasses.
Ginger Lemon Hot Toddies
Offer this soothing, classic beverage with an alcoholic kick.
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups honey
- 5 Tbsp. finely chopped
- Crystallized ginger
- 1 (3-inch) piece of peeled
- Fresh ginger, cut into
- 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 3/4 cup Norseman dark rum
- 3/4 cup Copper and Kings American brandy
Place water, lemon juice, honey, crystallized ginger and fresh ginger in a 4 1/2-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for four hours. Remove and discard ginger slices. Stir in rum and brandy. Ladle the mixture into mugs, and garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired.