Punch in on New Year’s Eve

If it’s January 1, I am at the home of my friends Anne and Keith. Every year the same cast and crew, more or less, gathers in their kitchen, den, dining room, basement, living room to eat (too much), drink (a lot) and share the first day of the new year. Our common thread is that we are all friends and colleagues of Anne and Keith, but the party has become a “same time, next year” event where it is really nice to spend time even with those people you do not see between times.

The large kitchen island, though made of granite, groans under the weight of the many, many dishes – each labeled – on which we gorge ourselves. There are, however, three options my taste buds pine for. Two, no surprise, are desserts. The other, the simplest best must-go-back-for-more punch in the universe, tastes even better because of its back story.

In the early 80s when they became engaged, one of Anne and Keith’s gifts was a very lovely bowl of a kind that Anne knew they would never use. It was more about artistic impact than utility, and for a young couple starting out, utility trumped “What is this?” So back to Tiffany’s went the gift, and into Anne’s wallet went the $50 credit, where it lived for a year. Checking out Tiffany sales the next year, the couple was determined not to find something without adding a dollar to the value of their credit. And there sat this beautiful punch bowl. For $50.

It is the very same punch bowl in which Keith makes his famous champagne punch every New Year’s Day. How much would that bowl cost today? Tiffany no longer carries crystal punch bowls, but some quick unscientific research revealed that while Target carries a low-end model for $20 bucks, their top-of-the-line models cost twice that – and they are plastic!

Keith’s Punch. In any bowl, here’s all you need, along with 90 seconds, to make a truly delicious punch: one quart of raspberry sherbet, to liters of Diet Ginger Ale, and one bottle of champagne, all chilled. Pour the liquids over the block of sherbet, and you are ready to please your guests.

Debbie’s Desserts

For guilt-free lemon mousse, mix together 2 small (or 1 large) boxes of Lemon Jello, 24 oz Diet Sprite, 1 cup hot water, and ½ tablespoon of lemon juice. Refrigerate for two hours, beat in Cool-Whip, and put in fridge until ready to serve. Light. Delicious. Great served as an accompaniment to berries or other cut-up fruit.

Then indulge in a piece of this chocolaty (food for your heart) pomegranate (anti-oxidant rich) treat. Melt dark chocolate (in a double boiler or at 50% power in a microwave). Stir in pomegranate seeds. Drop onto aluminum foil atop a baking sheet. Refrigerate and then watch guests swoon over the sweet-tart taste combo.

Happy, delicious new year!

A Bunch of Punches

Some more fun ways to imbibe or not (see alcohol-free recipe below). All liquids should be chilled.

Tequila Punch Surprise

32 ounces of fruit punch drink (not fruit punch soda, but the stuff you buy for a kids party)
32 ounces of orange juice
8 ounces of Tequila
8 ounces of light rum
Thin slices of orange for eye and taste appeal

Sweet Pineapple Punch

32 ounces of Pineapple juice
2 (2) liter bottles of ginger ale
3 quarts of raspberry or orange sherbet 
12 ounces of light rum

Quick Non-Alcoholic Cranberry Punch

1 can (6 ounces) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 bottle (32 ounces) cranberry juice cocktail, chilled

Non-Alcoholic Cranberry Punch

1 can (6oz) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 bottle (32 oz) cranberry juice cocktail
2 cans (12 oz each) Ginger Ale, chilled

Strawberry Champagne Punch

1 (750 milliliter) bottle champagne
1 (2 liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries, partially thawed

Champagne Orange Punch

In this order:
1 quart orange sherbet
2 quarts fresh orange juice
1 (2 liter) bottle ginger ale
2 (750 milliliter) bottles champagne

Champagne Peach Punch

3 (11.5 ounce) cans peach nectar
1 (6 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup peach brandy
1/4 cup grenadine syrup
1 (32 fluid ounce) bottle carbonated water
3 (750 milliliter) bottles champagne

Juicy Fruit Punch with Champagne

4 fluid ounces fresh orange juice
4 fluid ounces cranberry juice
2 fluid ounces apple juice
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 fluid ounces lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
2 fluid ounces champagne
1/4 cup sliced frozen strawberries

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