When hosting a Halloween party, there are three elements critical for success: (1) a great costume, (2) a good music selection (bonus points if you have a DJ), and (3) killer drinks. The last is perhaps the most critical element—the tastier the drinks, the more your guests will consume, and the drunker they get, the less likely they are to care about (1) or (2).
For advice on the perfect drink to serve at a party, we enlisted PS 7’s Gina Chersevani, who recommended putting together a punch: “Punches are great when you’re entertaining, especially during the upcoming holidays.” Her Toasted-Spice Apple-Cider Punch recipe is made with fresh apple cider, pressed at the restaurant. If you don’t have a cider press, an electric juicer will do the trick—just make sure you remove the apple cores before. To make three cups, you’ll need about 12 pounds of apples. If you’re pinching pennies, here’s some good news: Chersevani recommends making the cider using bruised or slightly damaged apples, which sell for much less than regular apples. Of course, if you’d rather skip the hard work, you can buy premade cider.
Below, Chersevani demonstrates how to make the punch and how to properly toast the spices used in the drink. Check out the videos, and make sure to get the recipe after the jump.
Toasted-Spice Apple-Cider Punch
Gina Chersevani, PS 7’s
10 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
½ pound powdered sugar
3 cups Old Overholt rye whiskey
2 cups Navan vanilla Cognac
4 cups fresh apple cider
Peels of 6 medium-size oranges, cut into strips
2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 16 squeezed lemons)
20 dashes angostura bitters
3 cups sparkling water
Heat a sauté pan over high heat and toast the cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and star anise for about 2 minutes.
Pour powdered sugar into a large punch bowl. Add the Old Overholt rye and the Navan vanilla Cognac. Whisk the mixture until all the sugar is dissolved. Add fresh apple cider, orange peels, lemon juice, bitters, and toasted spices. Stir gently. Let stand for about an hour at room temperature. Before serving the punch, add the sparkling water.