Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thanksgiving Cranapple Punch

Here's a recipe for a mixed drink that I put together for Thanksgiving this year. I focused on a drink that would showcase some seasonal ingredients and provide some level of refreshment, allowing everyone to avoid getting too tipsy prior to a nice dinner with some good wines.

No fruit says Thanksgiving more than cranberries and I selected a 100% cranberry juice from L&A for this. It is super concentrated/unsweetened and is quite tangy and bitter - the true essence of the cranberry. It needed some dilution and sweetening to work in a punch.

As for the liquor in the punch, I don't need much arm-twisting to use Laird's bonded apple brandy. Superior to their Applejack due to the higher apple content (it is 100% apple brandy vs. Applejack which is grain spirits mixed with apple brandy), it works wonders in cocktails where the intense apple flavors really come through.

Finally some fresh squeezed orange juice and a slice as garnish add some dimension and further balance the tartness of the cranberry. I would have used blood oranges were they available, but they don't come into season until December-January. Instead I used CA navel oranges.

Cranapple Punch (single serving)
1.5 oz. Laird's Apple Bond
2 oz. L&A Cranberry Juice (concentrated, unsweetened)
2 oz. Water
1T Superfine sugar
1/4 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice

Dissolve sugar in water. Build ingredients in a double old fashioned glass over ice cubes. Stir. Garnish with an orange slice.

Cranapple Punch (group)
1 750 ml bottle Laird's Apple Bond
1 32 oz. bottle L&A Cranberry Juice (concentrated, unsweetened)
32 oz. Water
1 cup superfine sugar
4 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice

Dissolve sugar in water. Mix ingredients in a large (>>92 oz.) punch bowl. Stir. Garnish with orange slices (half rounds). Add ice block. Serve in individual glasses over ice. Serves 16.

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