Thanksgiving Recipes - Punch with a Punch

From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

Does everyone wind up in the kitchen just when you're trying to put the finishing touches on Thanksgiving dinner?

Here's an idea....... set up the bar as far away from the kitchen as you can and stock it with a help yourself hot punch.  

Both of these recipes start with apple cider which, here in Virginia, is a fall staple.  Our fresh pressed local apples make this a crisp, seasonal treat.

Add some spices and heat to steaming. The spicy scents will draw the crowd away from the kitchen and out of your way.  People love to linger over a pipping hot brew and they're likely to stay away till you call them to the table!  
Hot spiced punch will
punch up your

Steaming Cider and White Wine Punch
If you have time (and space in the fridge) you can make it a day or two in advance.  The flavors will blend and mellow.  

At serving time, ladle it into the slow cooker and reheat (covered) on low.

Makes about 16 (1/2 cup) servings

1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 (750ml) bottle white table wine (medium sweet)
4 cups unsweetened apple cider (1 quart)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
4 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
1 cup dried apple rings
1/3 cup dark raisins

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and heat, covered, until steaming.  Do not boil.  Cook 5 minutes to blend flavors.  Serve hot.  Ladle into a chafing dish or slow cooker to keep warm, if desired.

Karla's Tip:  Brown sugar, honey or maple syrup to taste may be used instead of granulated sugar.  If you prefer, sugar may be omitted entirely.

Hot Orange Cider 
Jazz things up with a jigger of your favorite spirits.... bourbon, Southern Comfort, brandy, rum... even Cointreau or other orange liquor.

For a family punch, set the bottle(s) of spirits along side to be added, if desired.

Use the slow cooker here, too!  

For each serving:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup apple cider (bottled, fresh or hard)
Brown sugar to taste (optional)
Cinnamon stick 

Mix together.   Heat to steaming.   Add the spirits after heating.


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