I threw a Christmas cocktail last Friday and whipped up this easy and oh so potent punch.   What’s nice about serving punch is that it’s premade. No shaking and stirring while other guests arrive and suddenly you’ve got a queue of cocktail-less guests in need of a hit.  It’s also more glamorous then mulled wine or egg nog and yet, so simple to make.  Just mix together a bottle of Jack,  some fruit juice, spiced rum and a little maple syrup.  The result is intoxicating, mysterious… It’s not just a punch, it’s a potion.

To serve this magical elixir, just fill up a glass bowl with the necessary ingredients and lay it on the counter.  When a new guest arrives, fill a glass with ice from a nearby bucket, scoop in a ladle-full of punch and hand it over (always with the caveat “Be careful, it’s pure booze.” )   My guests loved it.   Some dreamt about it after. It’s a Christmastime keeper and I will definitely make it again next year, or sooner.

Wenzou Punch   – Adapted from The New York Times.

1 bottle of Jack Daniels, 750 ml

375 ml squeezed clementine juice

1/ 4 cup maple syrup

1 /4 cup Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

sliced Clementines for garnish

Mix  ingredients in a big glass bowl (or ceramic, if you do not have glass.)  Ladle indivdual 2 ounce portions in cups or small glasses with ice.  Placing a pretty ice bucket beside the punch works perfectly. I advise YOU controlling the serving. One per guest, two per very special guest. IMPORTANT: Add the ice as the punch is poured not earlier or it’ll water down the mix. I used fresh-squeezed clementine juice instead of tangerine and Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum for the required dram. If you want you can chill the punch first in the fridge but it is not necessary and I like how the ice mellows the room temperature punch as you pour it.  Serves punch for 15 to 20.

I served the punch in tiny wine glasses I found at my local fripperie. (Forget plastic cups! So tacky and and bad for the planet. You can always re-donate your glasses after the party if you don't want to store them.) Smaller glasses work better, since this punch packs a whollop and a little goes a long way. Two ounces on ice is enough to get your guests warmed up and ready to mingle, then they can switch over to wine or beer for the rest of the evening.

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