Cranberry Cider Punch.
YOU GUYS. I am so excited to tell you about this drank.
It doesn’t even have booze! It’s nonalcoholic. It’s perfect for this time of year and for Thanksgiving and this afternoon. And better yet… if you want to add a little something something, you totally can.
Let’s be real… in about three weeks I am going to be adding my own little something something to it. I’m thinking spiced rum would be best. But with the (crazy and scary) array of flavored liqueurs out there these days, your options are endless.
This is the punch I mentioned a few weeks ago when I recapped my baby shower. Err, should I say, this is MY version of the punch. I knew what went into it but didn’t know exact proportions or anything, so it took a few attempts to get it right. I didn’t hate it. I drank a lot of punch. I’m into punch.
So. It’s filled with love and feelings and
ginger beer (or ale, if you want more sweetness!)
an autumnal spiced simple syrup
pretty bursting cranberries
… and perhaps most importantly (not really but yes really), crushed ice. The key to all good drinks. All the best drinks. (P.S. our fridge now has an ice machine which makes crushed ice, but before that I used to crush ice in my vitamix. It was a fine line between crushed ice and, well… water, but it worked in a pinch.)
Also, you can TOTALLY do this with pomegranate juice (and arils) instead of cranberry juice. Frankly, I think I’d be even more into it if it was made with poms instead of cranberries. You know how I feel about fresh cranberries. So odd. But both flavors are obviously perfect for the season – the cranberry is just really the traditional classic. You just need to play with the proportions a bit. I suggest doing the same for the amount of syrup you want to add, as well as your decision to use ginger beer or ale – each will give a different (but wonderful) taste to the beverage and it’s truly just a matter of your preference.
Annnnd since it’s that time of year and I haven’t reminded anyone of it, I need to ramble on about how I love cranberry sauce from a can. Yes. FROM A CAN. Adore it. Don’t give me the fresh stuff. I’m so not into that.
I get it. The can is weird and gelatinous and gross. And, um, it’s also completely DELICIOUS. It tastes like my ten-year old years.
No shame. I can’t even wait to have it next week.
Now this can be added to your Thanksgiving menu next week, right?
Cranberry Cider Punch
autumn simple syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
a few slices of orange rind
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups apple cider
3/4 cups cranberry juice
2/3 cup ginger beer
1/3 cup autumn simple syrup
autumn simple syrup
Combine all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. You can store this in the fridge for a few days - I keep the spices and rind in the syrup for flavor, but remove right before using.
Add the cranberries and water to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the water is simmering and the cranberries are busting, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Use the cranberries in the punch and as garnish in the glasses.
Stir the ingredients together gently (the ginger beer will make it fizz!) and taste. All ginger beers can be different, so you may want to add more simple syrup or cider if yours is super spicy. You can also use ginger ale, but in that case you may want LESS simple syrup than what is called for. Serve the punch over crushed ice (this is important!) and garnish with the bursting cranberries.