How’d you like a nice holiday punch?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Punch up the holidays with a bowl of cheer. Take a trip back in time with a bowl of punch for you guests and family. You can go old school, with ginger ale, pineapple juice and lime sherbet, but punch is making an updated comeback.

Bartenders are using specialty liquors and European flavors to spice up the punch. We tried to stick to recipes that have ingredients you might find locally, but there’s plenty out there with exotic flavors.

We started out with some help from Cheerwine, which shared recipes for drinks using their seasonal Cheerwine Punch as a base. Some mixologists also shared cocktails using Cheerwine Punch, which we’re sharing with you, too.

Mulled wine is an easy and warming drink for this time of the year. Red wine is best for this recipe. White wine drinkers could try a sangria with fall fruits that would be good with salty appetizers.

So stock up on the Cheerwine and make your annual trip to the ABC store. The spirits of Christmas present are ready to cheer up your holiday.

“For generations, fans have used Cheerwine to make their own tasty recipes for sauces, desserts, floats, mixed drinks, punches and so much more,” said Joy Ritchie-Harper, vice president of marketing for Cheerwine and fifth-generation founding family member.

“For Cheerwine Punch’s return this year, we wanted to provide some fresh culinary inspiration by sharing original recipes from some of North Carolina’s most unique and brilliant mixologists.”

Boozy Holiday Cheerwine Punch

1 bottle of Cheerwine Holiday Punch

1 bottle of your favorite bourbon (recommended: Turning Point straight bourbon from Kings Mountain)

Fresh squeezed juice from 8 limes

Simple syrup to taste

Add all ingredients into punch bowl with ice and stir thoroughly. Garnish with fresh pineapple slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise.

Build in punch bowl over ice block or ice cubes. Stir 30 rotations. Serve in punch glasses with or without ice. Serves 20.

— Bob Peters

Bourbon – Cheerwine Punch

1 bottle of bourbon

1 bottle of dark rum

1 bottle of brandy

6 ounces of Fernet-Branca

4 dashes of Angostura Bitters

2 liters of Cheerwine Holiday Punch

Pour all ingredients in to punch bowl with ice and stir to mix. Garnish with lemon peels and cardamom pods. Serve in a chilled glass, filled with ice. Drink serves 40.

— Zach Thomas, Crawford and Son

Mulled Wine

1 bottle red wine

1 cup apple cider

1 cup cranberry juice

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup fresh cranberries

2 oranges, peels and juice

2 whole cinnamon sticks

1 Tbsp. whole cloves

1 Tbsp. star anise

Choose a red wine with some body, but don’t spend a lot. The other flavors will mask the taste of the alcohol.

Combine wine, cider, cranberry juice, sugar, cranberries, the peel from 1 orange, the juice of one orange, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise in a slow cooker. Stir to combine cook on high 30 minutes until warm.

Serve warm and garnish each glass with a piece of orange peel.

— Delish

Holiday White Wine Sangria

1 bottle white wine (Reisling for a sweeter wine, pinor grigio for dry)

2 cups ginger ale

1 cup sparkling apple cider or sparkling grape juice

1 Granny Smith apple

1/2 red apples (such as Honey Crisp)

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish

1/3 fin granulated sugar

Chop apples in small cubes that can be poured and eaten easily. Add to a large pitcher

Add fresh cranberries.

Bruise one or two sprigs of rosemary using the back side of your knife, just so it releases more flavor and add to pitcher. Pour in the bottle of white wine.

You can store this in the refrigerator for a hour or more, and continue with the recipe.

Add the sparkling cider or grape juice and ginger ale and stir.

To frost sprigs of rosemary for garnish, dip the sprigs in the sangria, then roll them in granulated sugar until coated as you please.

Mother’s Ruin Punch

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup chilled club soda

1 1/2 cups gin

1 1/2 cups fresh grapefruit juice, plus 3 thinly sliced grapefruit wheels, for garnish

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup sweet vermouth

2 1/4 cups chilled Champagne or sparkling wine, such as Prosecco

In a large pitcher, stir the sugar with the club soda until dissolved. Stir in the gin, grapefruit and lemon juice and sweet vermouth and chill in the refrigerator one hour.

Transfer the punch to a large bowl. Gently stir in the champagne or sparking wine and float the grapefruit wheels on top. Serve in punch glasses over ice

— Food and Wine

Festive Snow Punch

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

5 medium ripe bananas

3.4 cup granulated sugar (superfine is best)

2 cups half-and-half

1 liter lemon-lime soda

1.2 gallon vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt

For the optional rim:

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Canned vanilla icing

Place the lemon juice, bananas and sugar in a blender; cover and mix until smooth. Add half-and-half, cover and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate up to one hour.

Just before serving, pour lemon/banana mixture into a punch bowl. Stir in soda and top with scoops of ice cream.

Optional: Dip rims of glasses in vanilla icing and then the coconut.