Punch Party Recipes

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Erica and punch

A couple of weeks ago we saw a Good Eats episode about punch that really struck our fancy and so we decided to have a genteel little get-together to try out the recipe (since it involves whole bottles of champagne, it's not really something you can just make a glass or two of). It was also a good opportunity to make some fancy appetizer recipes we'd been eyeing.

The punch was even tastier than I'd hoped, but it had a kick to it for sure.


Here's the menu with links to the original recipes, and I've also included the recipes with any variations we used after the jump, for my own future reference.

And it wasn't a fancy appetizer, per se, but we did also have some leftover Green chile pork stew with potatoes from the night before, recipe from Making Light.

Cape Fear Punch

For the base:
750 ml rye whiskey [We used Jim Beam Rye]
750 ml water
1/2 cup Demerara sugar [We used organic 'raw' sugar.]
3 bags green tea
375 ml rum
375 ml Cognac [pass the Courvoisier!]
4 whole lemons

For the punch:
2 small oranges, thinly sliced
4 small lemons, thinly sliced
2 (750 ml) bottles sparkling wine or Champagne
1 liter seltzer or sparkling water
Ice block
Freshly grated nutmeg

For the base:
Pour the rye whiskey into a 4-quart container. Fill the now empty rye whiskey bottle with water, pour into an electric kettle, and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until the temperature drops to 190 degrees F. Place the tea bags in the kettle and steep for 3 minutes.

Add the tea, rum, and Cognac to the whiskey. Peel the zest from the lemons, being careful to remove the white pith. Wrap the lemon bodies in plastic wrap and reserve in the refrigerator. Add the lemon zest to the mixture, and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

For the punch:
Strain the base into a large punch bowl. Juice the reserved lemon bodies and add to the punch bowl. When ready to serve, add the oranges, lemons, sparkling wine, and seltzer water; stir to combine. Add the ice block and serve with freshly grated nutmeg.

Amy Sedaris' Cheese Ball Recipe
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
2 cups shredded smoked Gouda
1 stick butter
2 tbsp. milk, cream, or half-and-half
2 tsp. A-l steak sauce
2 cups crushed nuts, any variety (Amy likes walnuts [we used pecans])
crackers for serving

Allow ingredients to soften to room temperature.
Beat them all together in a mixing bowl and form into a ball, or form into several small balls to suit your function/needs. Roll in crushed nuts and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator and allow to soften about 20 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers of your choice.

Artichoke-Olive Crostini

1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 cup large green pitted olives
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 large slices of crusty bread [we didn't toast the bread at all and it was still very tasty]

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a food processor, process the garlic, olives, capers, artichoke hearts and olive oil to a coarse paste.

2. Toast the bread on the oven rack for 6 minutes, or until crisp and browned. Spread the olive paste thickly over the toasts and serve.

Do ahead: The olive paste can be refrigerated for 2 days. Let it return to room temperature before using.

Drunken Wienies

2-3 pkg. little smokies type wienies
1 c. ketchup
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. bourbon
Cook in oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees. The longer these set, the better they get. Serve in a slow cooker to keep warm.

[We knew the punch was going to be plenty strong, so we made these without the bourbon.]

Lemon Squares

Erica says: The lemon squares are in the church cookbook, but I think the crust is 1 cup butter, 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, pat into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then beat 4 eggs, add 1 or 2 cups sugar--dont remember and 3 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp flour or something.

This one is close:

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 lemons, juiced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/12 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.

Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool. For a festive tray, make another pan using limes instead of lemons and adding a drop of green food coloring to give a very pale green. After both pans have cooled, cut into uniform 2 inch squares and arrange in a checker board fashion.

Green chile pork stew with potatoes

Several pieces of boneless pork, cut into little cubes [thin-cut pork chops were on sale, which is what made me think of this recipe]
1-2 onions, chopped
1/2 C. almonds
a 12-oz. bottle of Trader José’s Salsa Verde* [used Mrs. Renfro's Green Salsa and it was spiiiicy]
1 large fresh tomatillo, or several smaller ones
4-8 red potatoes, depending on their size
1 bottle Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale** [used Guiness, because that was the darkest thing we had in the fridge]
a little dab of habanero oil or some harissa [not needed - the salsa was plenty spicy]
optionally, a dollop of butter [not needed]
Greek yogurt [didn't have any - wish we did, since it was so hot]

Fry the onions until they start to caramelize and turn gooey. Meanwhile, blanch, peel, and lightly chop your almonds. Remove onions from the pan. Brown the pork and chopped almonds together over a fairly hot fire. Do this in a couple of batches if necessary.

Put the onions back in, add the salsa verde and half the beer, and simmer for fifteen or twenty minutes. Chop up your tomatillo, cut the potatoes into chunks, and add both to the pan along with the rest of the beer. Continue simmering until you can’t stand to not eat it. Don’t cook it dry.

Shortly before serving, put in a dab of habanero oil and/or harissa, and correct the seasoning. If it’s too fat-free, a little butter will help. Dish out into bowls and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Nota bene: In the later stages, this has to be stirred every five or ten minutes or it will stick.


*Quantity is approximate. IMO, Herdez Salsa Verde is better, and Hatch’s Green Chile Enchilada Sauce isn’t quite as good; but Trader José’s Salsa Verde was what I had.

**Or the nearest equivalent brew in the medium-dark malty/nutty/umami range that’s light on the hops.

[Because it was so spicy, the next day we served it over rice. Oh, and somehow I didn't register the 'stew' part of this recipe -- it took several hours for the potatoes to cook. It was worth the wait, but next time I'll plan ahead.]