This holiday, gather family and friends together around the table and start the night with a beautiful bowl of punch.
Sparkling Spiced Apple Cider Punch
This punch is non-alcoholic so it can be enjoyed by everyone at the party. If you want something a little stronger on your table, substitute a 750-ml bottle of hard cider for the sparkling cider and add 1 cup of applejack brandy. Use an ice block to chill your punch—it’ll melt more slowly than ice cubes and looks very dramatic. Freeze your ice block in a Bundt pun or ring mold, or more simply, in an empty half-gallon juice container.
4 whole star anise
4 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
1 piece (3 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup honey
1 cup water
½ gallon apple cider
1 bottle sparkling cider
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the orange and lemon, trying not to get any of the white pith. Juice fruit and set juices aside.
Combine peels, spices, ginger, honey, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and turn off heat. Let spices steep for 1 hour. Strain syrup and discard solids. Chill.
To serve, combine the syrup, juices, cider, and sparkling cider in a punchbowl. Garnish with an ice block, cranberries, citrus slices, and anything else that strikes your festive fancy.