Past the sound, through Seattle, around the lake, down a few skinny pine-and-oak-lined rural roads and at last to Jac’s house in Snohomish County I drove, arriving in the misty mid-afternoon and – by dusk – we were cooking in preparation. Thanksmas is a tradition five-years strong in her house; one that calls friends from all over and connects folks from all corners of her life; roommates, childhood friends, cycling teammates (and now, their children and significant others) over a meal that promises to celebrate community – and the opportunity to be grateful for it – any day (and every day) of the year.
When she asked if I would like to come up from Portland for a proper catch up, to cook, and take part in the main event I was incredibly flattered and excited. Weeks in advance, a menu was set, techniques for preparing turkeys, the possibility of gravy, and to pie-or-not-to-pie were our questions, with a few little holes that we filled in at the kitchen table over a glass of egg nog before we dug into the preparation. This punch was one of the last items to be added to our prep list (along with these, and a pumpkin + chocolate-hazelnut pie I’ll share sooner or later) because a good party should have one. And, because all of the ingredients were already in the liquor cabinet. Et voila!
While Jac’s father finished poking the two (!!) well-herbed turkeys in the wood-smoker out the back, the cobbler baked, ten pounds of potatoes were mashed and our proper catch up a couple of months in the making was earned; stories ranging from ice climbing to boyfriends to chilly SUP-surfing in one of the local rivers (that didn’t freeze over) poured out. And so did this punch. When we spun around a couple of hours later to see the house filled with 20 friends, all of the available serving vessels overflowing with food, the kitchen filled with plates, people, and celebratory voices with full bellies, this was in the glasses we raised to our efforts.
The punch itself is a cinch to make. All the ingredients go into your punch bowl, and you serve. This recipe is adapted from this Bon Appetit gem; we liked quite a bit bubbly (no need to be spendy here – just something good and dry,) and quite a bit less lemon juice than the original. You could use any citrus juice you like here -I added the blood orange juice for a little floral-y depth and because the juice plays nicely with raspberries, but cara-cara oranges and grapefruits are also excellent blushy and excellent with the berries.The result is a snappy, fresh, sparkling punch that isn’t cloying or too fruity.
As for dinner, it was delicious too. I can’t wait for Thanksmas next year!
I’m just certain that those of you still pondering a punch bowl to ring in 2014 will be pleased with this one, and can’t wait to hear how you use it to celebrate the year – that passed and that on the horizon. Here’s to you and yours and a delicious 2014!