(Family Features) If you are looking to host an unforgettable holiday cocktail party, punch can make a memorable impression on your guests and bring your get-together to the next level.
Punch reached the height of its popularity during the Victorian Age. Originally made with alcohol, it ultimately became a non-alcoholic drink largely due to the preference of Queen Victoria. Over the following decades, it faded in popularity, briefly regaining favor in the 1920s when champagne punch was a hallmark of parties and celebrations.
Now, as new generations are reinvigorating old favorites and enjoying the art of mixology, punch is trending again.
Start by making punch a visual centerpiece at your holiday party. Consider a charming drink dispenser, an unusual punch bowl or an elegant glass pitcher. Let your personal and unique style shine through with your choice of glassware and table decorations and offer a variety of garnish selections for your guests to further personalize their glasses.
Typically, punches start with a blend of sweet and tangy, and you can get that "swangy" taste with an option like Tree Top's 100% Pure Pressed Sweet & Tart Apple Cider as a base. For inspiration, take a mixologist's approach to creating a memorable punch. Lemon, cinnamon and cloves not only spice up the flavor but can also double as decorations. Try ginger beer for a nice fizzle, and for an adult-only punch, consider adding vodka or rum.
Your punch table can be a place to gather and reconnect with loved ones while enjoying a trending holiday beverage. Find more recipes perfect for entertaining at treetop.com.
Swangy Cider Punch
Servings: 10 (8 ounces each)
- 1 bottle (64 ounces) Tree Top 100% Pure Pressed Sweet & Tart Apple Cider
- 16 ounces ginger beer
- 2 oranges, juice only
- 1 lime, juice only
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 cup vodka or light rum (optional)
- 1 sliced Granny Smith apple
- 6 star anise pieces, plus additional for garnish (optional)
- 6 whole cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- frozen cranberries, for garnish (optional)
- colored sugars or ginger crystals, for garnish (optional)
- In punch container, combine apple cider, ginger beer, orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice and vodka or rum, if desired, for an alcoholic version.
- Decorate container with apple slices, star anise pieces, cloves and cinnamon sticks.
- Personalize each serving with additional star anise pieces, frozen cranberries and sugars or ginger crystals, as desired. Serve cold.
Photo courtesy of Alamy
Source: Tree Top
(Family Features) This year, make your Easter ham effortless by ditching the oven and using your slow cooker instead. While most people think about slow cooking for staples like chili and stew, it’s also perfect for center-of-the-plate feasts — like an Easter ham.
Using the slow cooker, you can minimize both prep time and cleanup time, leaving plenty of room in the day for church, hunting eggs and enjoying time with your loved ones.
Ham is a tradition for many families this time of year, and because it pairs well with a multitude of ingredients, you can create a unique dish every time.
For a fresh spin on the classic ham, try this Sweet Southern Slow-Cooker Ham recipe from the National Pork Board. Apple cider and bourbon (or vanilla extract, if you prefer) combine to create a rich flavor complemented by the sweetness of brown sugar.
Round out your Easter menu by pairing your ham with classic sides such as oven-roasted carrots, asparagus wrapped in bacon and mashed sweet potatoes.
You can also use leftover ham for flavor-packed recipes like Ham, Apple and Cheddar Crepes, which are ideal for a family-style brunch.
Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes
Enter the National Pork Board’s Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes at PorkBeinspired.com/EasterHam for the chance to win an Easter gift basket with everything you need for this year’s celebration.
- 1 bone-in fully cooked ham, about 5 1/2 pounds
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Kentucky bourbon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- Place ham in large slow cooker. Whisk cider with brown sugar, bourbon, honey and mustard. Slowly pour over ham. Scatter thyme sprigs into slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours, or until very tender. Remove ham to rest on cutting board. Pass remaining cooking liquid through fine mesh sieve into saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly reduced. Carve ham into serving pieces. Brush ham pieces with cooking liquid before arranging on platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
4 to 8 hours
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
For a non-alcoholic alternative, replace the bourbon with 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
- 3 cups ham, shredded and warmed
- 1 3/4 cups 2% milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- Pour milk, butter, eggs and salt in blender. Mix until well combined. Add flour. Mix for 15 to 20 seconds or until smooth. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Heat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat well with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, swirl to fully cover bottom of pan. Cook for 1 minute or until crepe begins to curl around edges. Carefully flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until set. Transfer to plate. Repeat with additional cooking spray and remaining batter. Layer cooked crepes between pieces of wax paper to prevent sticking.
- Lay a crepe on clean work surface. Arrange few slices of apple on quarter of crepe; top with shredded ham. Fold crepe in half to cover filling and fold in half again to create triangular shape. Repeat with remaining crepes, apple and ham. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and hold in warm oven until ready to serve, or up to 30 minutes.
- For cheese sauce, melt butter in saucepan set over medium heat. Stir in flour until well coated. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until pale and smooth. Whisk in milk, a splash at a time, until smooth; stir in mustard, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheese, a small handful at a time, until melted and smooth.
- Place filled crepes on each plate. Spoon cheese sauce over each crepe and sprinkle with chives.
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
All the elements of the recipe can be prepared a day in advance and gently warmed before assembling.
SOURCE: National Pork Board