Festive drinks add punch to holiday gatherings

CHARLES TOWN – Whether your favorite holiday drinks lean toward eggnog and other Christmas classics or something with a more modern twist, ’tis the season to whip up something festive and refreshing.

Here, we offer enticing recipes that will make you want to get out your punch bowl and champagne flutes and get the holiday party started.
Cheery Holiday Mimosa
The traditional mimosa – one part champagne, one part orange juice – is a brunch menu staple, but with just two ingredients, you can make a quick, simple Christmas-y version of the cocktail that adds a romantic touch to any gathering.
Champagne, chilled
Cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
For each serving, fill a chilled champagne flute halfway with cranberry juice cocktail, then fill to top of glass with champagne. Gently stir and serve.
Egg-ceptional Nog
Classic eggnog gets an upgrade in this recipe that’s ideal for any holiday shindig. Of course, from-scratch eggnog necessitates more time in the kitchen than picking up a carton of the prepared stuff at the supermarket, but you’ll find this sweet, ultra-creamy concoction worth every bit of effort.
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
10 egg whites
5 egg yolks
1 cup orange liqueur
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups spiced rum
Whole nutmeg, for garnish
Orange zest, for garnish
First, make a sweet syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and remove from heat. Let cool.
With an electric mixer or whisk, beat egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Now add egg yolks, cream, orange liqueur and 5 ounces of the sweet syrup and beat until smooth. Stir in rum and two cups of ice and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and orange zest. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
Cranberry-Key Lime Cooler
Ruby-red cranberries lend a Christmas look to a drink that’s easy to make – and that goes down easy, too.
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
6 cups chilled club soda
1/2 cup fresh Key lime juice
1 cup vodka
For garnishes, key lime slices and fresh cranberries
Combine 2 cups fresh cranberries, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a large pitcher, discarding the solid mash. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
Stir in chilled club soda, fresh Key lime juice and vodka. Serve over ice. Garnish with Key lime slices and fresh cranberries. Yield: 8 servings.
Bourbon Punch with Pink Grapefruit and Mint
The time-tested sipping drink, the mint julep, gets an update that makes it party-perfect.
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
15 fresh mint sprigs, divided
4 cups strained fresh pink grapefruit juice
2 1/2 cups bourbon
12 dashes angostura bitters
1 cup club soda
1 ice block
Stir 1/3 cup water and sugar in small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil. Add 5 fresh mint sprigs. Remove from heat; cool syrup completely.
Strain syrup into punch bowl. Add juice, bourbon and bitters; mix in soda and 10 mint sprigs. Add ice to bowl. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
Pomegranate-Champagne Punch
Pomegranate juice makes this punch so pretty, you’ll want to make it the centerpiece of your holiday party.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 magnum champagne (1.5 liters)
1 1/2 cups white rum
1 1/4 cups pomegranate juice
1 large lemon, thinly sliced
Pomegranate seeds
Fresh mint leaves
1 ice block
Bring 1/2 cup water and sugar to boil in small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Cool syrup completely.
Combine champagne, rum and pomegranate juice in punch bowl. Add enough syrup to sweeten to taste. Mix in lemon slices, pomegranate seed, and mint leaves. Add ice block to bowl. Yield: 12 servings


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