Spike It: Vodka Cranberry Punch with Apple Cider Ice Cubes
The air is beginning to get crisp and chilly, and you know what that means. All the best things! The coziest knitted sweaters, hot lattes and cider at any and all times of day, and warm, hearty soups. Not to mention stepping on all those crunchy leaves while wearing those favorite boots getting fresh air for the first time in a while.
I’ve been frequenting the apple orchard nearly every weekend recently, and I just cannot seem to leave without a bottle of apple cider and a bag of fresh doughnuts. Have I mentioned that I love this time of year?
I remember going to apple orchards as a little girl with my family and always being so eager to get lost in the corn maze with my brothers. After the relief from the hot weather of summertime, the little girl in me wanted to spend all day, every day out there. Fortunately, living near an apple orchard made my fall-loving dreams come true nearly every weekend. It was always necessary to warm up afterward with a steamy cup of hot apple cider.
The child in me is always game for a long walk in the orchard on those crunchy leaves, but the adult in me prefers warming up after a long day of fall activities with a big scoop of apple crisp and a yummy adult drink. Enter vodka and cranberry cocktail with apple cider ice cubes.
This is dangerously easy and delicious. Make it for any and all get-togethers this time of year, and of course plan on it for Thanksgiving. Not only does it taste sweet and spicy, but just look at it! Those colors! The ruby-red cranberries cover the surface, and the perfectly cubed apple cider cubes are the best additions and amp up the flavor. If you are feeling overzealous, you could create an entire tablescape to match: Spread those little cranberry cuties across the table, and add some glittery gold pumpkins. Always a good idea.
Vodka Cranberry Punch with Apple Cider Ice Cubes
Serves 6 to 8
2 cups apple cider (approximately)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups cranberry juice
1 1/2 cups vodka
1/2 cup orange juice
6 cinnamon sticks
1 cup of fresh cranberries, to put in the punch as garnish
The day before, fill two ice cube molds with apple cider and freeze overnight. You may need a bit more or less of the cider, depending on the ice cube mold that you use.
Heat the water, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking the entire time. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble, and then remove it from the heat. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
To make the punch: Combine the cranberry juice, vodka, orange juice, cinnamon simple syrup and cinnamon sticks in a large punch bowl or pitcher. Stir well and refrigerate for a few hours before serving — this will marry the flavors. Before serving, add the apple cider ice cubes and cranberries to the bowl or pitcher.