Among my friends, I’ve had the honor of becoming Mr. New Year’s Eve. This title does not mean that I wear a diaper and a sash. Instead, I host an annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza. I started four years ago, and since then I’ve picked up important information on how to entertain, like mushroom caps do not taste good cold, for example, and people will not touch a full-size cupcake.
But most importantly, I’ve learned about alcohol. It doesn’t matter how many bottles of wine, liquor, and mixers I scatter around, guests love a good bowl of punch.
I also leave pitchers of pre-mixed cocktails on the bar. But it’s always the punch bowl that is continually drained. To keep the punch cold, and to add flavor, I float an ice mold that I’ve made with layers of juices and fruit in the days leading up to the party. On New Year’s Eve, I continually dump more bottles of prosecco and juice into the punch to make sure the bowl never gets empty, and the guests stay tipsy enough that they don’t notice the cold mushroom caps. Recipes? I thought you’d never ask.
Making the perfect ice mold
I use a bundt pan with an elaborate design as my mold. It is sometimes a challenge to remove the completed ice from a bundt pan, but the intricate shape of the pan turns your mold into a mini ice sculpture. The amounts of juice and fruit that you use will vary upon the size of your mold, but I generally try to keep the layers even.
Step 1: Dilute one part IKEA Saft Flader elderflower syrup with one part water. Pour a thin layer into your mold. In that thin layer, arrange 10 to 12 raspberries in a pattern. Freeze.
Step 2: When the elderflower layer is frozen, add a layer of pineapple juice. Create a pattern with about four hulled and sliced strawberries in the pineapple juice (I usually make a star pattern). Freeze.
Step 3: When the pineapple layer is frozen, dilute more elderflower syrup into water and pour over the pineapple layer. Slice an orange and arrange slices at the edge of the mold. Freeze.
Step 4: When the second elderflower layer is frozen, add a thin layer of orange juice and arrange more raspberries in the juice. Once again, freeze. Depending on your punch, I also recommend trying cranberry juice. Try to create as many layers as you can. If you’re feeling ambitious, it’s smart to make a second mold.
Prosecco punch — with a punch
I’ve always had a taste for prosecco over champagne, so this is my hooch of choice. The great thing about punch is that it can always be a work in progress. Experiment with different juices as you refill the bowl. If it tastes off, just add a little more booze. It covers all sins.
1 cup Triple Sec
1 cup brandy
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
¼ cup elderflower syrup (undiluted)
1 quart chilled ginger ale
2 chilled 750-ml. bottles of prosecco
Stir, add your ice mold, and enjoy the party.