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Food & Drink

Best Bowls We Know: Holiday punches to keep you warm

Photo: Jessica Elizarraras, License: N/A

Jessica Elizarraras

Mulled wine and Christmas punch add flair (and lots of booze) to your fiesta

Photo: , License: N/A

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The holidays are crazy, sure, but throwing a winter-themed soiree doesn’t mean slaving over cocktails at your home bar–far from it.

Holiday punches are not only easy to put together, but they’ll quench your guests’ thirst while adding a bit of flair to your gathering.

Don’t have a punch bowl? Visit local thrift or antique stores and check out the spread, or call around, someone’s grandmother might be your hook up. Or try a beverage jar instead, available at most department stores.

To get you on the punch-drunk path, we have a few easy ways to bowl over your guests.

Mulled Wine with Dark Brown Sugar

The first is a classic throwback with a savory twist: the addition of pepper and fennel give this mulled wine a significant kick that’s balanced by the addition of rich brown sugar. Serve this one out of a pitcher.

2 teaspoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1 3-inch cinnamon stick broken into pieces
2 (750-milliliter) bottles of fruity red wine (such as merlot)
3 bay leaves
Zest strips from 1 orange
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

Put the peppercorns, fennel seeds and cinnamon in a large tea ball or wrap them in cheesecloth and secure them with kitchen string or twine. In a large saucepan, combine the aromatics with the wine, bay leaves and orange zest. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the aromatics and orange zest strips. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Serve warm, in glasses or mugs.

Once cooled, the mulled wine can be poured into a pitcher and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently.

Modified from Food & Wine

Cranberry Pomegranate Winter Sangria

It may finally feel like winter outside, but we still can’t deny the appeal of fruity, boozy sangria. This particular one uses seasonal fruit to punch up the flavor. While a carafe would suffice, serving the sangria out of a punch bowl will make it easier to scoop up the infused fruit.

1 750-milliliter bottle of white zinfandel or rose
3 cups cranberry juice
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup light rum
1 apple, unpeeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Sparkling water

In an extra-large storage container, combine white zinfandel, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, orange juice, rum, apple, orange, lemon, cranberries and pomegranate seeds. Chill overnight or at least 4 hours to let flavors meld. Stir before serving and pour into serving pitchers or punch bowl. Serve over ice and top with additional fruit. Top off with a splash of sparkling water.

Modified from

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