As promised, here is the recipe for this year’s party punch. I was inspired by one of the corner punches at Brothers Drake, our favorite local place to head for drinks and chill live music. Back before they really expanded the cocktail list to the point I just can’t decide which one sounds best and end up having three strong drinks before forcing myself to quit, I usually gravitated toward the corner punch option of the original less-varied cocktail menu – a $5 pour of a changing mead-local liquor-juice concoction that was kept in a beverage dispenser in, you guessed it, the corner of the bar.
This particular punch had their Wild Ohio mead, cinnamon-infused vodka, ginger beer, and cranberry and orange juices. I wrote it down because I liked it so much, and when thinking about this year’s party punch, decided to play around and come up with a good ratio of similar ingredients.
As much as I love the mead, it’s price point doesn’t really mesh with our party food-and-drink budget, so I went with an off-dry Riesling on sale for $8-9/bottle, which has some similar flavors. We always use Gosling’s ginger beer, which is a little pricey for pop, but it’s the spiciest version I’ve found. Locally, you can find it at Anderson’s and Weiland’s.
You do need to plan a bit ahead to give the vodka time to infuse, so start that about a week out. You don’t need anything fancy since it’ll be mixed with so many other components – I used Smirnoff. And if you aren’t having a big party, I’m giving the single-drink measurements too, which I started with before scaling up to the punch-bowl-sized recipe.
8 sticks of cinnamon
One fifth (750 mL) of vodka
1. Just drop all the cinnamon into the vodka (you may have to temporarily pry off the plastic insert in the mouth to do so), cap it, and set it aside for about a week, giving it a shake every couple days.
1.5 oz cinnamon-infused vodka
3 oz off-dry white wine such as Riesling
2 oz ginger beer
2 oz cranberry 100% juice blend (I used cran-apple this time)
wedge of lime, wedge of orange
1. Add a couple ice cubes to a punch, rocks, or old-fashioned glass. It is best to start with all ingredients already cold so you can use less ice.
2. Add vodka and Riesling, then top off with ginger beer and juice.
3. Squeeze in a wedge of lime and wedge of orange before dropping them into the drink. Stir to combine and enjoy!
serves a party (~24)
fifth (750 mL) of cinnamon-infused vodka
2 bottles of off-dry white wine such as Riesling
3 12 oz cans of ginger beer
1 qt of cranberry-based 100% juice blend
1 orange and 2 limes, thinly sliced
~1 c cranberries
1. Freeze the orange and lime slices on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet, and freeze the cranberries as well. This should take less than an hour if you are starting last minute. You’ll use these as ice cubes to keep the punch from getting diluted as it sits all night.
2. Again, it’s best to start with cold ingredients. Throw the frozen fruit into your punch bowl or serving vessel of choice, then add in all liquid ingredients.
3. Give it a good stir and enjoy (hopefully with friends and family)!