31 October 2014

Halloween Drinks for the Grown-Ups

When we are home for Halloween, we usually splurge on a giant bag of Mike & Ike's and wait for the little kids to roll in, because they are so damn funny.  I don't know why, but we tend to get a lot of the really little ones, the kind who can't quite make it up the stairs to our porch and who are too shell-shocked to say "trick or treat" when we open the door.  They may be too young to be eating all this candy, actually.  So, we drink, hand out the crappiest candy in the world, and laugh at our neighbors' kids.  Yes, I realize how lucky we are that no one has tried to burn down our house or roll the yard.  Yes I do.

I always fantasize about making a party of it, but no one ever wants to come over to drink and laugh at little kids.  That's weird.  But if they ever did, I would serve punch, like maybe one of these:

Southern Pineapple Punch

1 (2-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
1 (12-oz.) container frozen pineapple-orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup mango nectar
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups Southern Comfort (optional)
Crushed ice

Mix it all together.  You now have Southern Pineapple Punch

Cranberry-Key Lime Punch

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
5 to 6 cups chilled club soda
1/2 cup fresh Key lime juice
1 cup vodka
Garnishes: Key lime slices and fresh cranberries

Combine 2 cups fresh cranberries, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a large pitcher, discarding solids; cool completely (about 1 hour). Stir in chilled club soda, fresh Key lime juice, and vodka. Serve over ice. Garnish with Key lime slices and fresh cranberries

Warm Spiced Sangria

8 black peppercorns
6 whole allspice
6 whole cloves
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
3 (3- x 1-inch) orange rind strips
3 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups apple cider
3/4 cup sugar
2 (750-milliliter) bottles dry red wine
1/2 cup brandy
1 orange, sliced
2 small Granny Smith apples, sliced

Place peppercorns, allspice, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and orange rind strips on a 5-inch square of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth, and tie securely with kitchen string. Combine orange juice, apple cider, sugar, and spice bag in a 6-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 2 hours. Stir in wine, brandy, orange slices, and apple slices. Cover and cook on LOW 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Discard spice bag before serving.

Sparkling Pear-Brandy Cider

2 cups chilled pear nectar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup brandy
2 (750-milliliter) bottles sparkling apple cider, chilled
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled

Stir together. Do not shake.

Montgomery Punch

2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup brandy
2 (750-milliliter) bottles chilled sparkling wine
1 (375-milliliter) bottle chilled dessert wine
Garnishes: orange slices, lemon slices, cranberries 

Stir together. Do not shake.
Now, I'm not trying to tell you how to live, but doesn't this seem so much more civilized for your Halloween party?  Try one out and write about how it turned out in the comments below. Happy Halloween, everybody!