DRINK } A Citrus Spin On My Favorite Punch

Plenty of winter citrus brightens up a traditional punch.
Photo by Sara Williams

Punch is a no-brainer when you're entertaining a big group. Mix it ahead to free up your hands for other tasks — doling out hugs to arriving guests, finishing up food prep, or keeping your feisty little dog from attacking friends. Oh, that's just at my house?

One of my go-to recipes is St. Cecilia Society Punch. I first made it for a family gathering at the beach back in 2009, and tipsy relatives declared it a keeper.

For a Valentine's Day party this year, I mixed up the recipe a bit by adding lots of fresh winter citrus — meyer lemons, kumquats and blood oranges. I left out the customary pineapple, which gives it a tropical flair (not that there's anything wrong with channeling the tropics in February).

I recommend spooning a few kumquats into each glass. They're a deliciously tart little booze-soaked bonus.

St. Cecilia Society Punch
adapted for winter from Fine Cooking

serves 12-14

3 meyer lemons, thinly sliced into rounds
1 1/2 cups brandy
1 cup granulated sugar
2 black tea bags
2 tablespoons sliced ginger
1 1/2 cups dark rum, such as Gosling’s
2 cups of kumquats, halved
2 blood oranges, sliced into rounds
2 bottles chilled dry sparkling wine
1-2 750 ml bottles sparkling water, chilled

* For chilling the punch, make an ice block by freezing water in a medium-sized bowl or container a day before. (That's the big thing floating in the photo above.)

Put the lemon slices in a large bowl, pour the brandy over them and chill for a few hours or overnight.

Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir just until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and ginger slices, and steep for 4 minutes. Remove tea bags and strain out ginger. Set syrup aside to cool.

At least 3 hours and up to 6 hours before serving, combine the lemons, brandy, syrup, rum, kumquats and blood oranges in a large pitcher or bowl. Chill.

Just before serving, pour the punch into a large punch bowl with a block of ice. Add the sparkling wine and sparkling water (as much as you'd like to dilute the punch), and stir. Serve with a few pieces of fruit in each glass.


Aviva Goldfarb said...

Wowza, your punch looks absolutely beautiful and I'm sure it tastes so good I'd want to guzzle it down. Thanks for the inspiration, Amanda!

Alicia Sokol (Weekly Greens) said...

The photo by Ms. Williams is stunning. :-) Almost as lovely as that punch (of which I think I drank half?!).

Sarah Yardley said...

Hi Amanda, I just found your blog through The Bitten Word. I love it! Thanks for the recipe, it sounds great. Cheers :)


Amanda said...

Thanks for stopping by (and to Bitten Word for leading you here)! I'll be sure to check in your site. =)