It’s a festive punch that couldn’t be easier.
The holidays are my favorite time of year because I love a good holiday party. I love the finger foods and cheese plates, I love the soft glow of twinkly lights, and I love bulky sweaters. I also really enjoy holiday-worthy cocktails, from mulled wine to cider to champagne-spiked concoctions.
During a recent visit to Trader Joe’s, I was inspired by their array of seasonal holiday items on display. I quickly gravitated towards the Winter Wassail Punch, with images of festive cocktails dancing in my head.
While the packaging recommends combining it with wine, I knew it would be better utilized in a holiday punch. I grabbed a couple of other ingredients and hummed Christmas carols all the way home.
A Perfect Holiday Punch
My husband and I have a holiday party every year and I wanted to get an early jump on planning. One of the biggest decisions is always libations—I love to serve a big punch for simplicity, but I rarely make the same recipe twice. Luckily, TJ’s offered plenty of inspiration.
Trader Joe’s describes the rosy-hued Winter Wassail Punch as “a sweetened blend of black currant, apple, and lemon juices, with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, and orange peel.” After tasting it, I really appreciated how balanced it is. It’s the ideal mix of fruity, tangy, sweet, and spiced. Holiday in a glass.
The rest was easy. I chose vodka since I liked the idea of a neutral spirit here, especially when making a punch for a crowd. A little lemon brightens things up, but isn’t required. The sparkling wine ups the fruitiness just slightly, adds dryness, and brings the all-important bubbles, making it truly feel like the holidays.
How To Make My Trader Joe’s Holiday Punch
For a batch that serves 12, you’ll need:
4 cups Trader Joe’s Winter Wassail Punch, chilled
1 1/2 cups vodka
12 lemon wedges, optional
1 1/2 cups brut sparkling wine, chilled
Optional garnishes: lemon or lime wheels, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate seeds, cranberries
Combine the Wassail Punch and vodka in a pitcher. Add ice to 12 glasses and squeeze a lemon wedge in each (optional). When ready to serve, add the sparkling wine to the pitcher, give it a gentle stir, and pour into the glasses. Add garnishes and serve.
If serving in a punch bowl, combine the punch, vodka, and the juice of one lemon (if using) and stir. Add the sparkling wine just before serving.
How To Make One Cocktail
While this is a great drink for batching for a crowd, it’s equally easy to make one or two cocktails.
Fill an old-fashioned, highball, or stemless wine glass halfway with ice. Squeeze in a small lemon wedge, if using. Top with 2 1/2 ounces Winter Wassail Punch and 1 ounce vodka and give a quick stir. Top with 1 ounce sparkling wine. Add your choice of garnishes and serve.
Don’t Forget the Garnishes
To make this drink even more festive, have fun with the garnishes! Serve it in a punch bowl with a fun ice ring, lemon and lime wheels, and some cranberries floating on top. Or serve in a pitcher and garnish each glass with rosemary sprigs and pomegranate seeds.
No matter how you serve this punch, just avoid adding the sparkling wine until the last minute to retain its carbonation. I like to combine the other ingredients in a pitcher and prep all of the glasses. Then when I’m ready to serve, I add the bubbles, pour the drinks, and dole them out to happy guests. It takes five minutes tops.
Read the original article on Simply Recipes.