The Frenchman’s been away since the hem of Monday morning. Almost a week alone has meant the submission of all leisure time to the alter of A Little Life, which I listen to on my commute in the morning, and again in snatches throughout the day when I should be working, and then all evening and night until I finally fall asleep way past my bedtime. It’s one of those books that takes over.
Presently we’re in a strange limbo: half our current–soon to be “old”–apartment is packed up. We’re selling off our furniture piecemeal. The new place has brand new shelves and wallpaper, but no bed. We leave for our honeymoon (in New Zealand!) on December 18th, so–somehow–we’ll find a way to wrap up our work projects, and haul our lives across the river before then. Right? Is there an alternative? I have a premonition I won’t take a deep breath until I’m on that plane.
And now something happy to listen to in the background while you brew this punch: I’ve long been a fan of the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. In a recent episode, Linda Holmes interviews Trevor Noah. I enjoyed the interview a lot; it’s thoughtful, funny, and smart.
I’m going to be straight with you–this punch is really delicious. It can be made a night ahead–or even two–so it’s perfect for any holiday party. It’s also dead simple to scale up. The vanilla, tea, apple brandy, dark rum, apple cider, and citrus play nicely together, and feel particularly appropriate for chilly weather.
Makes 10 cups / Serves 8 to 12. If you want to be fancy, you can take the extra step of making more tea, and freezing it either in ice cube trays for individual glasses, or in a bundt pan for a punch bowl, to keep the punch cold all night.
- 4 cups (950ml) water
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 5 vanilla rooibos tea bags
- 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) apple cider
- 1 cup (237 ml) apple brandy
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) dark rum
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 cups (473 ml) club soda, chilled
- Thinly sliced apples, for garnish
- Pour the water and sugar into a medium-sized saucepan, and turn the heat to high. Whisk as the water warms, so that the sugar dissolves. When the water reaches a simmer, remove the pot from the heat, and add the tea bags. Let the tea steep for 30 minutes. Pour the tea (including the tea bags) into a heatproof container, and move to the fridge until chilled, at least 5 hours or overnight.
- When the tea is cold, pour it into a large punch bowl. Add the apple cider, apple brandy, dark rum, lemon juice, and lime juice; stir to combine. (You can make the punch up to this point 1 to 2 nights ahead, and refrigerate it.) Just before serving, stir in the club soda. Serve cold.
This post was sponsored by Restaurantware. For the most part, they cater to restaurants more than to home cooks–they’re the leading manufacturer and online distributor of discount, wholesale, eco-friendly restaurant supplies–however, I love the website for holiday season, or any time I’m throwing a big party. (I used these cups and these straws in this post, but I want all their straws and all these paper bags for baked goods–Restaurantware’s paper products are biodegradable and compostable.) They sell fun stuff like this and this, and pretty jars like these. For parties, I try to minimize the amount of dishes I have to do when everyone leaves, so something like this or this (their wood tableware is made from 100% biodegradable material) is really helpful, and also makes me feel extremely fancy. All opinions are completely my own.