Thursday, November 22, 2012

Serving Up {Drink}: Hot Russian Punch (Hootch)

Posting a beverage photo is tricky, especially when it isn't something that can be topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings with drips running over the sides.... obviously I am over thinking my photos but really, what can you do with a liquid?  The only answer I have is that you can talk it up enough that anyone reading will believe you when you say, "THIS IS MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY BEVERAGE OF ALL TIME!!!"  Did you see the three exclamation marks?

This recipe is an old family recipe, although I don't know the true origins of it.  Grandma Wright's recipe card reads "Hot Russian Punch" but in our family we affectionately refer to it as "Hootch" and have as long as I can remember - unless you are my four year old who calls it "Pootch" and can't seem to get over his cute error.  Growing up we would always make gallons and gallons of this (not exaggerating  because it was what we gave to our neighbors at Christmastime as a gift.  It quickly became something that many of our friends not only looked forward to receiving but they had their own family traditions surrounding it.

This hot punch IS Christmas in my book.  From the time I make it, and it fills my kitchen with the delicious scent of cinnamon and cloves, until I am cuddled under a blanket with a steaming cup warming my hands as well as my insides.  Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without Hootch making it's appearance.  Even if the appearance in the above photo appears somewhat benign...

One Year Ago: Decadent Triple Layer Mud Pie

(recipe from grandma Wright)
printable version    

4 quarts water
4 sticks cinnamon
30 whole cloves
1 cup lemon juice
6-ounce frozen orange juice concentrate
46-ounce can pineapple juice
4 cups sugar

Place water, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves in a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for 10 minutes.  Strain spices.***
Add the lemon juice, orange juice concentrate, pineapple juice and sugar.  Allow to remain on the heat until punch has returned to a near boil and the sugar is completely dissolved.
Cool before placing in containers.  Store in the refrigerator.  Warm before serving.

***I follow my mom's lead and don't strain the spices.  I like them to remain in the container after I make the punch, which allows the flavors to intensify (if it lasts that long).  I just strain the spices as I serve it.

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