I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, happy Chanukah, joyous Kwanzaa and irreverent Festivus! Mother Nature seemed to be just a couple of days off with that white Christmas this year and, boy, did she make up for it. Thundersnow?! That was nuts! What was that?! I was about to start burning wood in my apartment. True New Yorkers just threw an extra layer on and marched right out in it.
With just two days remaining of 2010, I still cannot believe a decade has passed. It seems like the older you are the more quickly time passes. I can remember the Y2K threat of 2000 like it was yesterday. Ten years later we have war, unemployment, an economic depression and a general malaise. Awwwe-sommme!
Well, we can only go up from here. Right?! Get prepared to shrug off those holiday blues and step into 2011 with vim and vigor and a little libation of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety.
I saw a news story on the comeback of punch. Did it ever really leave?! There were flaming punches with brandy and absinthe, aromatic ones with clove and cinnamon and, of course, rum punch. However, the one that really stuck out to me (especially since I am coming to terms with my lack of alcohol tolerance) is the non-alcoholic punch with sherbet…yes, sherbet. Just saying the word brings a smile to my face. Say it…go on, no one is watching you. See!
There is many a sherbet recipe to be found and has been made in the last 60 or so years, but the elements are always the same: fruit juice, fizzy soda and sherbet or ice cream. Good for adults, great for the chil’rens.
Here is what I would mix together:
1 12-oz can grape juice concentrate
2 quarts ginger ale
1 quart club soda or seltzer
1 pint lime sherbet
In a punch bowl, pour sodas over frozen juice concentrate. Finish with big icebergs of sherbet.
Funny, I am just reminded of a float I had this summer at Public restaurant in Nolita. It was strawberry ice cream and lemongrass sorbet with ginger ale. Yum! That could also make a yummy punch. The combinations are endless, especially with all of the new and unique flavors of sorbet, ice cream and sherbets. What will your combination be?
Though I might…MIGHT…be abstaining from the champers this New Year’s Eve, I invite you to indulge. Here is a great recipe for a champagne punch for you and your revelers.
First! Today! You must make an ice block for your punch! Regular ice cubes will water down the joy of the drink.
Fill a metal bowl or Bundt pan with water. Add slices of fruit, mint leaves, or pomegranate seeds to the water. Freeze overnight. Let defrost just long enough to loosen the ice from its mold.
For the punch:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 750-ml bottles chilled brut Champagne or Prosecco
1 1/2 cups white rum
1 1/4 cups pomegranate juice, or another juice of choice
1 large lemon, thinly sliced
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 seeds and mint leaves. Add ice block to bowl.
Drink responsibly please!
Before I sign off of 2010, I must offer a fond food farewell to a few foodies that made this world a better place. Farewell to Morrie Yoxai, creator of the bodega favorite and neon-orange-fingered children and adults everywhere, Cheese Doodles. And to Glen Bell, the founder of the Mexican fast food chain and, for me, the final location of a drunken night in Atlanta, circa 1991, Taco Bell. Finally, to musician, entrepreneur and pork lover Jimmy Dean, whose product was used by millions of Americans making their holiday stuffing/dressing. Thank you for all of your hard work!
Happy New Year’s, everyone! To more adventures in food in 2011…cheers!
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
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Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! SCHOP! is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? kysha@iSCHOP.com.