Well, I asked for suggestions...and you ALL came through with flying colors!! Coming in the next few days, we'll run the gamut from Burritos to Brownies. A little of everything, for everyone!!
First, however, it was pointed out to me that I was sadly lacking on one aspect of the holiday/party season...drinks!! After all, when you throw a party or a big meal, don't drinks ALWAYS play a strong part in that? Time to correct this, so today, I'm going to offer you some pleasant libations, both "dry" and "wet", to accompany your entertaining!!
Sure...you can easily offer tea, coffee, soda or juice. But why? There are so many ways to make something memorable, and they aren't really that time consuming. Let's stir up something tasty, shall we? Today, I offer you the following...Christmas Punch, Eggnog, Sangria (alcoholic only), and Wassail. Most of these may be made "dry", or non-alcoholic, but I will offer the "wet" versions as well.
3 quarts Cranberry juice
3 quarts soda water
7 tablespoons sugar
1/2 pound chunks of various fruits (strawberries, cherries, pineapple, apples, blueberries, etc)
1 750ml bottle of Vodka, rum, or red/white wine (optional)
In a clean 5 gallon bucket, combine the juice, water, and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Add fruit and alcohol (if desired) and stir well. Chill well, then serve in a festive punch bowl. Recipe may be halved, if needed.
6 large eggs
3 cups milk (whole milk is recommended, but you can use 2%)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (eliminate if using alcohol)
1/2 cup dark rum (optional)
1/4 cup brandy (optional)
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (according to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional for whipped topping)
1 teaspoon of sugar (optional for whipped topping)
1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional for garnish)
1 teaspooon cinnamon (optional for garnish)
In a medium saucepan, warm milk up on the stove. Do NOT boil. You want it to reach a point where it's steaming slightly. While milk is heating, beat the eggs in a separate large bowl. Add sugar to the eggs, a little at a time, until well blended (start with the smaller amount...you can add more later if you feel it needs it). Add salt, blend well. SLOWLY, add the milk to the egg mixture (the eggs will curdle if you add it too quickly, so do it a little at a time, until the eggs accept the temperature of the milk), beating with a whisk to ensure a smooth texture.
Once fully blended, return milk/egg mixture to the saucepot, and bring back up to temperature. It will be done when a metal spoon dipped in it stays lightly coated. Remove from heat. IF the mixture has bits of cooked egg, pour through a fine-mesh strainer to remove them (you want a smooth finished product). Pour back into a large bowl, and add the 1 cup heavy cream, stirring well. Add the alcohol if using...if NOT, then add the vanilla, stirring well. Allow to cool, then refridgerate, covered, for at least 4 hours (better still, fridge it overnight...this will mellow the alcoholic flavor).
Just before serving : If you wish to have whipped cream added, whip the 1/2 cup heavy cream with a hand-mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. GENTLY fold the whipped cream into the eggnog, until blended (do not beat it...you'll lose the airiness in the whipped cream). Otherwise, sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon, if desired.
1 750ml bottle of dry red wine
2 cups club soda
1/4 cup brandy
2 tablespoons sugar
4 medium oranges, divided
2 lemons, sliced
1 lime, sliced
In a large bowl, squeeze the juice from 2 of the oranges. Add the sugar and brandy to the juice, stirring until sugar is fully dissolved. Add the entire bottle of wine. Slice the remaining 2 oranges, and add those with the lemon and lime slices to the mixture. Add the club soda, and stir well. Chill for at least 4 hours. Serve over ice.
1 cup sugar
4 whole cinnamon sticks
3 lemon slices
1/2 cup water
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
6 cups dry red wine and 1 cup dry sherry (alcoholic version) OR
7 cups apple cider (non-alcoholic version)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 lemons, sliced
In a small saucepot, make a syrup by combining the sugar, cinnamon sticks, 3 lemon slices, and water. Bring this to a boil for 5 minutes. Strain into a large bowl to remove the cinnamon sticks and lemon slices. Add both juices, and EITHER the wine/sherry OR apple cider, stirring to blend. Serve garnished with lemon slices.
See, a special drink to toast your special occasion isn't far away!! ENJOY!!!