Tag Archives: party

Make them say OOOOH with a Punchbowl Ice Wreath

img_8512

Knock, knock, knock.

Gentleman Caller.

This is an oldie but a goodie, friends. The classic ice wreath.

Now if you’re like me, you have sweet memories of cut glass punchbowls and ladies stirring concoctions of sherbet, 7-Up, pineapple juice and other sweet delights into it and watching the foam rise. Family parties, showers, holidays… A punch bowl was a staple. Granted you get a thimbleful of liquid in the dainty cups, but when it’s loaded with the calories of a traditional Southern style punch, perhaps that isn’t a negative.

Earlier I told you about a crisp Autumn cocktail with cranberries and cinnamon syrup. I made this beverage in a large quantity (just make all the ounces into cups…) in my vintage cut glass punch bowl and it was a hit.

Now if you know anything about me by now, you know half-assed is not an option. So I crowned the punch with a shining ice wreath. And it really did look like a crown.

Here’s what to do. This wreath is ideally for Vaccinium Autumn Vaccination.

  • Put a bundt pan in the freezer for a couple of hours. Make sure it’s flat/level.
  • Add about a cup of cranberries to the bottom. Add about a half cup of lemon Perrier mixed with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon syrup (see Vaccinium recipe). This shouldn’t cover the berries. Cranberries float; that’s how they are harvested. You only want to glue the berries down with the liquid mixture as it freezes.
  • Once that layer is frozen solid, add grapefruit juice to cover the berries and then some.
  • Allow that to freeze solid.
  • Slice and de-seed a lemon (thin slices). Leaving the mold in the freezer, adhere the slices into the broad side sections of the pan. The slices will freeze on contact like a tongue to flagpole.
  • Allow that to all freeze solid.
  • Mix about a cup of grapefruit juice, a cup of cranberry juice, a little cinnamon syrup and some lemon seltzer so you have enough liquid to almost cover the lemons. It should all be cold. Pour it into the mold.
  • Peek at it occasionally. When it starts to get good and slushy, poke a cinnamon stick into the narrower divots at the edge so that they will be visible.
  • Allow to freeze solid.

img_8476

When you’re ready to serve the punch, run the bundt pan carefully under hot water. Don’t allow the water to come into contact with the ice ring. It should slide out quite easily. Add your crowning touch to the punch. You may put either side up; the one side will have red glistening cranberries, the other a crown of cinnamon sticks. You can’t go wrong.

I hope you wow your guests with this relatively simple show stopper.

All for now.

The Gentleman Caller

Sparkling Ice Ring Crown in a vintage cut glass punch bowl
Sparkling Ice Ring Crown in a vintage cut glass punch bowl

 

Vaccinium Autumn Vaccination – The Gentleman’s Fall Special

img_8168

Manicured hand courtesy of Chris Crowthers.

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock, knock, knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Yeah, I know. You’re thinking, “What in the hell has he titled this beverage?” Vaccinium is the term for a species of low bushes that yield the delicious, tart cranberry. And you know what a vaccination is. Consider this cocktail a vaccination from your loud mouth brother-in-law or cousin that’s coming to Thanksgiving dinner and going to talk politics and conspiracy theories all day. Just simply look at your spouse or significant other, or perhaps a worldly child relative, and say, “Babes, I need another VAV.” See, an acronym there.

In all seriousness, though, this bad boy is not too sweet and really tasty. I auditioned it before a room of sophisticates and got the thumbs up.

Here’s what you need:

  • Cranberry syrup – in a small saucepan, combine 1 cup cranberries with 1 cup orange juice. Bring to a boil and simmer till all the berries pop. Take a potato masher and smash ’em good. Run the mixture through a wire strainer, dispensing with the leftover solids. Tah dah, cranberry syrup.
  • Cinnamon syrup – in a small saucepan ( I know, you want to hit me with a small saucepan because this is already too much work), combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Add 5 cinnamon sticks that you’ve broken up a bit with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin. Bring to a boil. Simmer ten minutes and then let steep and cool. Strain the cinnamon sticks out. Tah dah, cinnamon syrup.
  • Lillet (pronounced li-lay, a French aperitif wine, relatively easy to find)
  • Vodka
  • Perrier lemon flavor
  • Fresh cranberries for garnish

In a shaker or jar or whatever, combine 1 oz cranberry syrup, 1 oz cinnamon syrup, 1 oz Lillet, and 2 oz of Vodka. Swirl it around. Pour into a rocks glass over ice. It better be square ice. You know I don’t like misshapen ice cubes. Top with Lemon Perrier. Toss in 3 cranberries. Voila!

This is the PERFECT beverage to serve at your cocktail parties or family gatherings this time of year. I mean, one sip and your leaves might change color. I don’t know what exactly that means; use your imagination.

I’m out for now, fellow fans of fall.

The Gentleman Caller

VACCINIUM AUTUMN VACCINATION – THE GENTLEMAN’S FALL SPECIAL

img_8169