Southern Apple Whiskey Punch

 My kind of noggin’…

Forget the eggnog, even if it is nicely spiked. With the weather as it is, I think I’ll take a nice cup, or three of something a lot warmer, something that will toast my toes as well.

Great for parties, wassail has been around forever and I know there are so many good recipes. This version is the one for me though, based on an old southern one of an apple whiskey punch served along the waterways and rivers in the ‘big’ houses to guest from far away. Ladies were not allowed this, it was only for the gentlemen. Some gentlemen, huh?

A wonderful blend of apple cider, (you know, the cloudy kind from squeezed apples and not apple juice) fresh juices from just-picked local oranges and pineapples from afar brought into the area by local seamen along with spices from the far east. The whiskey of course was regional too. Make up a batch and watch your guests ‘warm-up’ to you quickly. Enjoy!

Southern Apple Whiskey Punch
about 18 servings

2 quarts apple cider (fresh if available)
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 quarts pineapple juice (or a 46 oz can)
1 -1 inch piece fresh ginger peeled and thinly sliced
3 -6 inch cinnamon sticks cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup local honey
1 apple, thinly sliced crosswise
1 orange, thinly sliced crosswise
1 whole orange
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 to 3 cups quality southern whiskey

Place the cider, orange and pineapple juice in a large kettle or pot. Add the ginger, cinnamon and stir in the honey. Add the apple and orange slices. Stud the whole orange with the cloves and place in the kettle.

Bring to a low simmer, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. You can keep this warm on the stove-top for about 2 hours or transfer to a slow cooker set on warm if desired until ready to serve.
Right before transferring to a punch bowl, stir in the whiskey. Serve with a wide ladle, the slices of fruit are delicious.

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