Bowled Over

By Julia Price

October 5, 2016 4 min read

One of the most festive ways of getting into the holiday spirit is with an extra little pep in the punch bowl -- the pep being alcohol, of course! There are so many fun recipes that you can easily whip up that will absolutely guarantee your spot as life of the party.

Pumpkin spice is one of the most popular flavors of fall, with a comforting and flavorful holiday vibe. Though this may be more of a Thanksgiving option than a Christmas choice, it shouldn't be overlooked. For a pumpkin spice martini, start with some vanilla-flavored vodka -- maybe Smirnoff or Absolut. You'll also want to purchase pumpkin flavored liqueur (Kahlua makes one for the holiday season) and an Irish cream liqueur, such as Bailey's. Pour these three ingredients into a shaker with ice; shake it up; pour it into glasses; and then add a pinch of nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

If you won't have time to serve drinks individually, you can put your flavorful, updated spin on the classic punch bowl with a pumpkin spice fizz. You'll need regular vodka, a sparkling white wine, pumpkin mix (do not confuse this with pumpkin pie mix), raw cane sugar, pumpkin pie spice (can be found at most groceries seasonally) and ice. Mix a half-cup of water, the can of pumpkin mix, 1 cup of raw sugar, a half-teaspoon of ginger and a half-teaspoon of nutmeg, plus a quarter-teaspoon of cloves.

Once you have the mix ready to go, transfer it to a microwave safe bowl and heat on medium for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. You can also cook on your stovetop on low using the same method. Pour into containers and place in the refrigerator to let it chill. In a separate mixing bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin spice and two scoops of raw cane sugar. Keep this on the side for guests to sprinkle on top of the drinks to their taste.

In a large punch bowl, pour the contents of the vodka in its entirety, and then add the pumpkin mix from the fridge -- stirring well. Top with ice then the sparkling wine or prosecco and you'll be ready to go!

For a more winter-feel option, you can make the above recipe but swap out the pumpkin spice for a candy cane punch bowl. Your preparation will be much easier as there's no requirement to heat up any of the ingredients which are vanilla rum, white chocolate liqueur (Godiva is recommended by the Food Network) and peppermint schnapps. Mix all parts equally in a large bowl with ice to cool it, then use a large skimmer spoon to remove the ice several minutes later, before it melts and dilutes the drink. You can add some sparkling white wine or prosecco for a little bubbly bonus, or leave candy canes opened and to the side of the bowl as a garnish option for guests.

If you're a fan of the traditional eggnog drink but want to try a lighter version, try a vegan recipe that uses either coconut or cashew milk as an alternative. You'll need spiced rum, 2 cups of either cashew or coconut milk (almond milk is another option but can be too watery), a half-cup of full-fat coconut or cashew milk, four to six medjool dates, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ground cinnamon, cloves and sea salt.

Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Pour into glasses with ice filling the glass halfway, and then add spiced rum (you can also use bourbon) and sprinkle nutmeg on top.

Another popular holiday classic is mulled wine, which is generally red wine infused with spices. You'll need an entire bottle of red wine, 4 cups of apple cider, a quarter-cup of honey, two cinnamon sticks (or cinnamon spice), one juiced orange (or a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice) and four cloves. Combine all elements in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then simmer on low for 10 minutes. While it's warm, pour it into mugs and serve. If you want to add garnishes, you can purchase additional oranges and slice some of the skin into a curved peel to place on the top of the mug.

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