Bourbon Spiced Cider Punch
Honestly, I don’t know how all the creative Thanksgiving people do it. My family eats the exact same meal every year and my mom decorates, which puts me in the unique position of being able to ogle all manner of online T-Day deliciousness and beauty without having to make any tough calls. (Thank God.) I’m indecisive AF, and deciding between Brussels sprouts and haricots verts? Delicata squash or sweet potatoes? Cornbread stuffing or regular? Nope. Too much. I get itchy just thinking about it.
Don’t even get me started on how I would feel if I had to do the “tablescape.” I’d go straight down the Martha Stewart rabbit hole, never to be seen or heard from again. (I imagine having to send SOS smoke signals—most likely in the form of Adele’s “Hello” on repeat—until my mother showed up to save me.)
So again, much respect to the T-Day creatives. You are quite the inspiration.
Since the big feast is only two weeks away, I’m guessing the planners already have their menus in mind, but for those that don’t, I’ve got a comprehensive guide to the holiday in the works. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a festive fall cocktail that would make a fabulous addition to all your T-Day feasts, holiday soirées, and weird football parties. Let’s talk Bourbon Spiced Cider Punch.
I dig this batch cocktail for so many reasons. First and foremost, spiced cider rocks. (If you can get your hands on some fancy local stuff, do it, but if not, Trader Joe’s actually makes a surprisingly good one.) The concentrated apple sweetness with all those comforting spices just tastes like fall, and it somehow manages to be both cozy and refreshing at the same time. With a hefty pour of bourbon to warm things up, ginger beer for a little kick, and lemon to cut the sweetness, this cider c-tail is autumn boozing at its very finest.
I also love that cider punch is a dump and stir cocktail and takes all of 5 minutes to whip up, even if you plan to double or triple the recipe. It’s always best to go with quick, idiot-proof beverages when you’re hosting a bigger group.
(Last year, I decided to make Grapefruit-Rosemary Mules en masse for our holiday party, and I was forced to greet guests exhausted, sticky, and sweaty, standing in a kitchen that resembled a grapefruit graveyard. Not my best call.)
Full disclosure, this recipe is actually a revamped version of the punch I made for a recent fooseball party. The original called for half the amount of spiced cider and no ginger beer, with hard cider making up the difference. It was delightfully dangerous in that it tasted like it had no booze, when in reality it was ALL booze. When I realized I had inadvertently created a grown-up version of Jungle Juice it was too late. Things had already gotten weird. (Sorry.) After having had both punches, I (slightly) prefer the ginger beer version from both a taste and safety perspective. But if your holiday season starts to get a little too stressful, you know what to do…
T-13 days to Thanksgiving, peeps. Get your game face (and your freak) on.
4 cups spiced apple cider
1½ cups bourbon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 12-ounce bottle/can ginger beer
1 apple, thinly sliced into rounds
Stir together all the ingredients for the punch in a pitcher. (You’ll need something that holds at least 8 cups/2 quarts, peeps.)
Pour into glasses filled with ice. Garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick if you’re feeling fancy.
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