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12 Days of Cocktails: Day 11

Posted on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015


It’s the home stretch before the big holiday and I have to say it’s been a pretty nice run. Sure, I’ve had Grinchy thoughts of just walking out of my car while it’s running when I’m sitting in jam packed parking lot, but who hasn’t? All in all I’ve been so grateful and happy to spend time with the people I love and cherish. Sure I’ve left a ton of things to the last minute, but the cocktails will help with that. I know during this time of year people get super into this whole peppermint candy cane thing, and full disclosure I just don’t get it. I think I was 19 the first and last time I had peppermint schnapps and it left a lasting impression. But in the spirit of the holiday and to pay homage to this minty following, for today’s cocktail I created a spiced and minted pomegranate syrup. Just enough mint flavor to please even the most peppermint fanatic. When the holidays starting getting into crunch time there is a simple solution for all your cocktails needs: PUNCH TIME! This cocktail makes a beautiful punch and if you’re feeling like I’ve cheated you of your peppermint dreams by all means garnish the cocktail with a cute mini candy cane. No judgement!

3 cups Pimm’s
2 cups pomegranate syrup
8 cups sparkling wine

METHOD: Pour ingredients into punch bowl in order listed. When you add the sparkling wine, the fizz will help mix everything up. You can also whisk the ingredients together. Add ice last. For garnish add mint leaves and pomegranate seeds.
Pomegranate Syrup
4 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup sugar
½ cup of torn mint
1 tsp mace
Peel of one lemon

METHOD: In a medium size pot over medium-high heat, add pomegranate juice and sugar. Once sugar has dissolved, add mace and whisk in until totally incorporated into syrup. Add mint and lemon peel. Bring mixture up to a boil and then lower heat. Simmer mixture for 25 minutes. Take off heat and strain. Store syrup in an airtight container and keep in your fridge.

PARTY TIP: The hardest thing about punch is making sure it is just as tasty as the first ladle to the last. No one likes watered down punch so to solve your ice problems you have lots of options. You can take pomegranate seeds and freeze and use that as your ice so that water dilution is very minimum. You can also make decorative ice in large muffin tins. Take a muffin tin and add mint leaves and pomegranate seeds to each vessel. Fill with water and place in freezer. Once frozen you have large and decorative ice pucks that will dilute at a slower rate and add some pizazz to your punch. You can also do something similar with a bunt pan and create a beautiful ice ring. Because we’re fancy!

WITH A TWIST: This makes for a great punch because Pimm’s is a lower proof spirit. But if you’d really like to get your guests all toasty, you can also add 1 ½ cups of gin to this punch. You can also just use vodka and take out the Pimm’s completely.

LAST MINUTE GIFT: If you’re thinking about what to get the cocktail geek in your life you still have time to purchase a semester package for Sunday School. Six fun and informative cocktails classes with each month having a different theme. For more information and to check out the class schedule…

Cheers and here is to a stress free holiday,

Your neighborhood bar geek,
Catherine Manabat