"Make ahead" punch is great to serve to a large crowd. Present in a punch bowl over a big ice ring, or serve up over fun to make Cherry Bitter Ice Balls. Check gourmet stores and on-line for ice ball molds.
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
12 each cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
2 cinnamon sticks, broken up
2 cups gold rum
2 cups brandy or cognac
1/4 cup Bitter Truth Apricot Liqueur (optional)
1 cup guava or passion fruit nectar
1 cup Pomegranate Juice
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. Bitter Truth Creole Bitters
1 bottle chilled brut champagne or sparkling wine
To make the syrup: combine ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat- then reduce heat and simmer slowly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before proceeding with recipe. Or you can prepare up to a week in advance and store refrigerated.
To make the punch: in a large punch bowl (or large container such as a stock pot or pitcher) combine the Spiced Syrup, rum, brandy, juices and bitters. Stir to combine well. (At this point you can refrigerate the punch for service up to 3 days in advance) Present in a large punch bowl. Add champagne right before serving. Serve punch in an old fashioned glass over ice or a Cherry Bitter Ice Ball.
Cherry Bitter Ice Balls - Makes about 20 Ice Balls
10 cups water
2 Tbsp. Bitter Truth Creole Bitters
20 maraschino cherries, stems removed
To make ice balls: in a pitcher, measure out water and stir in bitters. Place water evenly in ice ball molds with one cherry per mold. (This will have to be done in batches depending on the size of your ice mold containers.) Put ice molds to freezer. Check in 12 hours. Remove ice from molds, and transfer to a container. Keep frozen until ready to use.