Thursday, January 1, 2015


This chapter is not for teetotalers, although even the most conservative may well have an occasion to serve an alcoholic beverage, or two or there. Take a daughter's wedding for example.

Indeed, the beatific beverages are geared to those who like the unusual--just about anyone can make a decent martini, or Manhattan or whiskey sour, can't they?

Almost anyone can make a passing-good Bloody Mary, but the recipe for that drink herein contained, far surpasses any I've ever had. And there have been many imbibers at my brunches who agree and tote the recipe home. So it's not an unusual drink, but one that is superior.

Now about cocktail parties, did you ever think of substituting a really superb Richmond punch and come right out and call it a punch party? The first time I did this, there were 75 people gathered, and it was absolutely the best party we ever had. The guests were given to song backed by a talented guest with a large repertoire at our small electric organ. It was a mellow group that arrived a bit late at the club dance.

Another time, my former husband volunteered me for making this libation for the wedding of a good friend's daughter. My kitchen reeked for fumes, for I made 10 batches--it was a large wedding. The friend rewarded me with a sand wedge, which helped by golf game no end. Fair enough, I thought!

Again, I volunteered to make umpteen batches for our class reunion. We kept looking younger and younger after each trip to the punch bowl! A smashing success, that reunion.

Actually every recipe is worthy of your efforts when the occasion demands. I've just emphasized punch as an attractive alternative to the martini/Manhattan routine.

There are, as you know, hot and cold weather drinks. Can't you see yourself swinging lazily in a hammock on a hot summer day, book in hand, and a frosty pitcher of Sangria at the ready. Or take a snowy, gusty cold winter's night, a blazing fir and a hot buttered rum right next to the backgammon table? That's what I mean by seasonal drinks.

So let's start with a summer drink . . .  Sangria!


If you've been buying bottled Sangria, try this recipe. You'll think you've discovered a new drink. It's
fruitier, zingier and infinitely more refreshing. It's big at barbecues, just to name one place it shines. I'd tell you where it comes from, if I could remember, which I can't.

Combine 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup water in sauce pan and bring to a boil over moderately low heat, stirring and washing down any sugar crystals that cling to the sides of the pan. A brush dipped in cold water is helpful and keep at it until all the sugar is dissolved.

Remove the pan from the heat and add thinly sliced 2 oranges, 1 lemon, 1 lime and 3 cloves. Let the fruit macerate in the syrup for 12 hours.

At your leisure, pour the fruit mixture into a large picture, add 2 bottles of dry red wine and chill for at least four hours.

When ready to serve, stir the mixture well and pour into 8-ounce highball glasses, each partially filled with ice cubes. Be sure there is a slice or two of fruit in each glass. Yields about two quarts.


Maybe this should have gone in the SWEET TOOTH chapter because it's actually a dessert, but then again, is has more scotch whiskey in it than you'd put in a glass on the rocks. I don't even like scotch but consumed this with gusto when it was first served to me. The hostess said it was a contest winner somewhat deservedly so. She also said you could could make it with rum or brandy just as well. And you can!
  • 1/2 cup scotch whiskey, rum or brandy
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup honey
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated
  • Sliced almonds
Beat the heavy cream at high speed until it holds firm peaks. In a second bowl combine the honey with your choice of liquor. Fold this mixture into the whip cream and beat it together on low speed. Blend well. Divide among 8 glasses (sherbet, wine or whiskey sour). Cover and refrigerate several hours at a minimum. When ready to serve, sprinkle with nutmeg and scatter sliced almonds on top. Serves 6 to 8. And a spoon is required.


I love Kahlua. I love Black Russians, which you can't have without Kahlua. But I often balk at the price. My son alternated between calling me "chintzy" and "extravagant" dependent on my mood I'm in, because obviously I can't be both at the same time. "It's all a matter of priorities," I sniff whenever such a discussion occurs. Come be "chintzy" with me . . . it's delicious!
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 12 tsp. instant coffee
  • 2-3 cups vodka ( I use 3)
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
Bring water to boil, add sugar and instant coffee. Mix well and simmer for two hours. When cold, add vodka and vanilla. This can be used immediately (and often is) but the flavor improves with age. I
make two batches at a time -- one for sampling, one for aging!


This is a cold weather punch to warm one's innards. I think it originated in Maine and I could be wrong, but I first had it in Massachusetts and that's for sure. It's grand for the holiday season and perks up Open Houses in the merriest way! I altered the recipe as given to me by increasing the butter and the lemon and orange juice. Otherwise it is the same.

IMPORTANT to choose a metal punch bowl for the hot water could shatter one made of glass. So let's get on . . .

Pour two/fifth black rum into the metal punch bowl, add the juice of one lemon and one orange. Put one pound of honey and one quarter pound of butter in a sauce pan and simmer until the butter is melted. Add to the punch bowl, add one quart of boiling water and mix well. Taste and add more water if desired. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg and serve. You're on your own in devising a way to keep if pleasantly warm. I use Sterno under a stand that holds the punch bowl. Found it in a garage sale. But the better stores will have the proper punch warming equipment.


I've said more than enough about this punch already but one last word--it's really special, smooth as velvet and potent. But you can control the latter by increasing the amount of soda you add. Taste if first before tampering with the recipe tho.
  • 1 qt. strong Oolong tea
  • 1 qt. Jamaican dark rum
  • 1 qt. port wine
  • 1 qt. brandy
  • 1/2 pint orange Curacao or triple sec
  • Juice of 12 medium-size lemons
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
To the tea while it is hot add sugar and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly and strain through a cotton cloth. When cool, add brandy, rum, port, and Curacao. Pour into empty liquor bottles. When ready to serve, pour in punch bowl and add one quarter soda or carbonated water for each quart of punch. Serve in a large bowl with a block of ice. Orange slices stuck with cloves are a nice garnish.


For cold weather and frosty autumn evenings through frigid winter nights. Use this in the Apple Velvet
cocktail (next). Call it double duty cider.

In a heavy sauce pan mix together two quarts apple cider, 1/2 cup brown sugar. Add to this a spice bag containing 1 tsp. each of whole allspice, whole cloves, and a cracked cinnamon stick. Now simmer the mixture for 20 minutes. Remove the spice bag, bottle, cool and refrigerate. Delicious hot of cold or add to Apple Velvet Cocktail.


Combine 1 1/2 oz. of applejack with three oz. of your cold mulled cider, a teaspoon of unbeaten egg white and a generous pinch of nutmeg. Crack and add two ice cubes, shake vigorously and strain into a whiskey sour glass. Serves one. Better make more. You'll be glad you did!


There's a little country inn on the North Shore which doesn't have a liquor license, but which had no
objection to totting your own. In fact, they'll be delighted to serve you the fixings for a Bloody Mary and state so on their menu.

Well, Lillian I, you must remember her by now, love to go there for Sunday brunch.

She's is a marvelous story teller and regales her Boston friends with tales of brunching away while reaching into a paper bag for the bottle of Bloody Marys.

About the Inn. Fish so fresh it stopped only minutes on its way from sea to skillet.

This is the Bloody Mary we especially enjoy!

For each drink, half fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and pour over it 1 jigger of vodka, 2 jiggers tomato juice, 1/3 jigger lemon juice, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of celery salt and salt and pepper to taste. Shake the mixture well and strain into a glass.

This makes only one drink, of course. We make much more for the paper bag brunch!

P.S. I add two drops of Tabasco. Lillian doesn't. She doesn't know I do either.


Dolores, a former co-worker (those were my days in advertising) came bubbling in one day to tell of a delightful party and a delicious punch. Come to think of it, there was much talk about food and recipes in the office. Simplicity itself and totally different from the many of the less inspired punches encountered at parties, This is a lighter potion than many versions and very pretty too.
  • 1 large can of Hawaiian fruit punch (chilled)
  • 1 large can of sweetened pineapple juice
  • Vodka to suit the taste
  • Vanilla ice cream
Assemble all ingredients in a chilled punch bowl, hopefully with an ice ring in which you've embedded a pretty fruit design) and mix well. At the last minute float scoops of vanilla ice cream in the punch,which, by the way, comes out a heavenly pink color, studded with the white ice cream scoops. Allow three four-oz. serving per guest at the very minimum and order your ingredients in quantities so determined. Better plan more because this is delicious. Refrigerate any leftover punch, which is an unlikely eventuality.


Hot buttered rum for cold wintry nights! And this recipe is a winner. More time consuming than many but absolutely superb. Came from some restaurant somewhere, according to Olive, who first introduced me to this extra special version of an old favorite. This is the cup that cheers. And cheers and cheer!

Make a rum butter by creaming together two cups of  soft butter 4 1/2 cups brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups honey 1/4 rum extract (I use real room not extract), 2 tbsp. grated nutmeg, 2 tsps. cinnamon, i tsp. ground cloves. You should have approximately 1 quart.

Scald a 10 oz. mug and for each drink stir in 1/4 cup of rum butter and 1/4 cup boiling water until the butter is melted. Now stir in 1 1/2 oz. dark rum and fill the mug with boiling water. Sip and enjoy!

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