Help me booze up my punch!
December 7, 2010 7:33 PM   Subscribe

How can I booze up this punch recipe? Details and recipe inside.

I have no experience making punch, and I know very little about mixing drinks generally, as I'm more of a beer/neat bourbon kind of gal. But, I really want to make this recipe for cranberry gingersnap punch I saw in Imbibe for a party this Friday. The ingredients are:

25 fresh cranberries
2 1/2 oz ginger shrub (I'll be substituting ginger beer)
2 1/2 oz cinnamon syrup
750 ml apple cranberry sparkling cider

I'm assuming that by sparkling cider, they mean the non-alcoholic stuff my parents used to give us kids on New Year's Eve. So, how can I make this an alcoholic punch? My first thought was substituting some sort of sparkling white wine for the cider (though I know very little about white wines, so suggestions are welcome), and perhaps mixing in a little cranberry apple juice. Or would it be better to stick to the recipe, but throw in a little brandy or rum or something? Or do both? Please help me out, MetaFilter!
posted by lexicakes to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
in my experience, apple juice + brandy makes a fine drink and a fine base for a drink. i used to heat that up with a cinnamon stick in it. it's not a big stretch from what i used to enjoy regularly to the rest of your recipe.
posted by oreofuchi at 7:43 PM on December 7, 2010

Mix up the recipe as-is. Pour in a bottle of vodka. Done deal.
posted by pompomtom at 7:45 PM on December 7, 2010

Vodka would do the trick!
posted by Pressed Rat at 7:45 PM on December 7, 2010

Sorry, change that to about 200ml of voddie... Being a bit blasé about the quantities...
posted by pompomtom at 7:47 PM on December 7, 2010

I second the oreofuchi recommendation. Calvaldos would be excellent.

I make a similar punch, but just leave the two bottles (brandy and bourbon) next to the bowl, so guests can season to taste.
posted by gagoumot at 7:49 PM on December 7, 2010

I think rum could be good, too. Why not make a few cocktail-sized servings, and try them with various liquors (vodka, brandy, rum seem like obvious choices)?

I made punch for a party a couple months ago, and found tons of recipes through a google book search for "punch recipe", results restricted to pre-1950 or so. Looking at other recipes should give you an idea of what kind of combinations sound appealing. From what I can tell, punch was *really* popular in the early 20th C., so there are tons of recipes. Also, it's just fun to read through some of these books!
posted by pompelmo at 7:50 PM on December 7, 2010

Don't worry, it's not rocket science.

Substitute alcoholic ginger beer.
Substitute alcoholic apple cider and cranberry juice for the non-alcoholic apple and cranberry cider.
Add vodka or white rum as an intensifier. Brandy might also go nicely.

If it tastes too strong, throw in some juice or soda water.

In the alternative, just add vodka or white rum to the recipe as is.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:50 PM on December 7, 2010

There's no reason why you couldn't just buy alcoholic apple cider and mix that with some cranberry juice. Or you could ferment up some juice yourself (I use this system and love it). White wine might be too sweet, cider tends to be pretty dry, although wine would likely have a higher alcoholic content.

Otherwise some brandy thrown in would work. It gives a nice warm flavour which would be nice with the ginger and cinnamon. Oh, or you could buy alcoholic ginger beer, or possibly Stone's Ginger Wine, and get the alcohol in that way.

Whatever you go with, try a small batch first and adjust the amounts until it tastes good. Keep notes of the ratios then you konw it will work when you make a whole lot.
posted by shelleycat at 7:52 PM on December 7, 2010

i'd go with vodka. more people are ok with vodka than brandy. i like monopolowa, other people like svedka - cheap-mid priced and really clean tasting. the thing with adding booze is that it can make things very much not cold and melt all your ice and water it down. i'd store the vodka in the freezer and maybe even freeze some of the cranberries or cider (cranberries, frozen in cider, as ice cubes in the drink could be beautiful).
posted by nadawi at 7:54 PM on December 7, 2010

it occurs to me, depending on how many you're serving, Toad Hollow's Risque would be a great addition - sub some in place of some of the sparkling cider. the flavors would meld really well.
posted by nadawi at 7:57 PM on December 7, 2010

A Proseco sparkling and some brandy for extra kick if you want something on the sweet side.

Generally I don't like Vodka for a family friendly boozy punch because you're going to get more of a raw alcohol kick from Vodka.

If you want a heavier boost then brandy without the alcohol burn of Vodka I'd lean towards either Captain Morgans for spice or Southern Comfort for a smooth fruity punch.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:09 PM on December 7, 2010

oh and if you get too sweet you can pull it back with either more cranberry or some sweet and sour.

Sweet and Sour is always a great way to tone down some sweetness and/or raw alcohol.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:10 PM on December 7, 2010

This feels rummy to me, and tis the season. Hit it with 250 ml light rum, a couple shots of calvados, and a hint of amaretto. They'll love you.
posted by Topkid at 8:11 PM on December 7, 2010

Amaretto is my vote for any cranberry/winter cocktail. I would add it to your recipe as is.
posted by deadcrow at 8:25 PM on December 7, 2010

I'd shy away from vodka and keep the cider and add a half bottle of proseco and a bit of applejack, personally.
posted by General Malaise at 8:58 PM on December 7, 2010

Massively seconding rum. Do not mix this with vodka. Rum goes perfectly with cinnamon, apple and ginger flavours, especially if you make it hot (add the alcohol after you heat the mixture to avoid boiling it off). This is a comforting Christmassy drink - it should not be drunk cold with ice!
posted by turkeyphant at 3:22 AM on December 8, 2010

Thanks for all the suggestions! I think I'm going to try rum and/or brandy. I'll mix up a few test cocktails and see how they taste.
posted by lexicakes at 12:40 PM on December 8, 2010

I really like the idea of hard apple cider and/or a bit of proseco or other sparking white wine. I feel like that approach would be the best for maintaining the flavor profile of the original recipe. I worry rum or a brandy might make it a little too, well, boozy and heavy and strong. Then again, that might be perfect! It's all a matter of taste.
posted by faeuboulanger at 9:08 PM on December 8, 2010

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