This post comes courtesy of Heather John, blogger at TheFoodinista.com.
The hallmark of any successful holiday party has to be the punch—all the better if it involves champagne. If there’s a large bowl and ladle within sight, I can pretty much be assured that the evening will be a good one within seconds of walking through the door, like this past weekend when I spotted an Algonquin Bar Punch on my friend Zinzi’s kitchen table.
The highlight of our own annual Fa-La-La party—and the most requested recipe in my arsenal—is this Champagne Pomegranate Punch, which I serve in an enormous punch bowl with a silver ladle. But really, what everyone remembers about the punch is the ice.
The night before the party, I make an ice mold. What goes into the ice changes based on mood, or what’s in my garden. To make your own ice mold, first you’ll need a bundt pan. One of my favorite combinations is to place lemon slices, pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves in the bottom of a pan.
Fill the pan with water about 2/3 full, as the water will expand when it freezes. Freeze overnight, and remove about half an hour before serving so that the ice slightly melts to loosen sides. Turn the ice into your punch bowl. The ice will slowly melt, which is a good thing, considering how much white rum I sneak into that pretty little punch.
Other ideas include floating grapefruit slices and mint in an ice mold for a bourbon punch, whole raspberries and lemon slices for the Algonquin Bar Punch, or blood orange slices in a Campari Champagne punch—an idea which just came to me and might need to be deployed this evening…
About the author: Heather John has written about food and drinks for a number of publications including the Los Angeles Times, Australian Vogue, Robb Report, T Magazine online, and Bon Appetit, where she was the wine and spirits editor for seven years. She is also the creator/editor of the acclaimed blog, TheFoodinista.com. John has been a judge at numerous wine and chef competitions, served as a James Beard Restaurant Awards judge, and appears on TV and radio, ranging from Hell’s Kitchen to NPR’s Morning Edition and Splendid Table. She lives in Los Angeles.