2 parts Spiced Apple Juice
1 part Ginger Beer
0.5 part Raspberry Syrup
Add all ingredients to a punch bowl and give a stir
Garnish with the discarded cinnamon and cloves from the Spiced Apple Juice, with sliced apples, or as you prefer
* * *
When we posted How to Throw a Cocktail Party earlier this week, we insisted that at any party a non-alcohol alternative be available. Today, we’re putting our punch bowl where our mouth is (or something like that). In the event that you find yourself entertaining over the holidays, a non-alcoholic punch is a great option to consider. This one is simple as, well punch, provided you do a little prep work up front. It’s great for both kids and adults alike, and there’s enough of a homemade quality involved that you can impress your guests in true Martha Stewart style, should you feel so inclined.
In the commentary for the film Moulin Rouge!, director Baz Luhrmann remarks on why he chose to make the petticoats and undersides of the Can-Can dancers’ skirts so colorful; at the real Moulin Rouge, the dancers were naked under their skirts, so when they did the Can-Can, it was quite a thrill for the audience. Using bold colors under more subdued dresses, Luhrmann hoped to foster a similar excitement. By a similar token, if we were going to develop the first virginal addition to the 12 Bottle Bar roster, it had better be able to hold its own alongside more libidinous company. Poison Apple Punch fits in just fine.
The first step is to make the Raspberry Syrup at least the day before. Use the cold method for Flavored Syrups.
Now, I’m not a big fan of regular store-bought apple juice, but it’s plentiful and inexpensive. It also makes for a good base against which to add spices, which we’re doing here.
Making the Spiced Apple Juice is simple:
- Bring apple juice to a boil along with some cinnamon and whole cloves.
How much cinnamon and cloves? I wing it, but taking the advice of various mulled cider recipes, I’d start with 3 cinnamon sticks and about a teaspoon of whole cloves per half gallon (64 oz) of apple juice. Feel free to adjust depending on how spicy you like things. If it’s too spicy, just dilute with more apple juice. I really like Canela (Mexican Cinnamon) here.
- Once the juice has reached a boil, cover it and remove from the heat until cooled.
It’s as simple as that.
As for the Ginger Beer, I’m a big fan of Reed’s Ginger Brew. Lars prefers Vernors. Use something with some bite to it but one which isn’t too overpowering. If kids are among your guests, a little less spicy might be a good thing.
How much to make? I recommend starting with a 64 oz bottle of Apple Juice, 32 oz of Ginger Beer (just less than three bottles), and 2 cups of Raspberry Syrup. That’s 112 oz, which means 11 oz per guest at a party of ten people. The number of guests, additional beverage options, and length of the party will all affect how much punch you’ll serve.
The final consideration is keeping the punch cold throughout the evening. Unlike punches with alcohol, this one doesn’t benefit from dilution. You can try making an ice ring out of the punch itself, so that anything that melts is just more punch. Straight apple juice ice is also an option. I personally prefer the punch at room temperature.
Poison Apple Punch is a great name for a Halloween punch, but this is a drink that will work for you throughout the holiday season. It’s a nice combination of the Spiced Apple Juice, the fizzy bite of the Ginger Beer, and the lovely round sweetness of the Raspberry Syrup. Feel free to call it whatever you like, or leave the name be and let your Thanksgiving guests ponder. We just hope it provides a delicious, family-friendly alternative for the holidays.
Don’t Forget: If you’re planning on serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at your event, the Raspberry Syrup is also the basis for our Blinker and Japalac cocktails, both of which feature Rye.