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Assortment of Seasonal Punches Is Perfect for Large Christmas Gathering

December 14, 1989

Some people insist on doing all the preparation themselves if they give a holiday party. That's fine, but if the mere thought of doing that much work prevents you from entertaining, there are other alternatives--like being the organizer of a BYFA party (Bring Your Favorite Appetizer). Volunteer your home for the gathering and make a festive punch or two to accompany the recipes brought by others.

This type of party is particularly appropriate for clubs, close friends or neighbors, where nobody needs to be reticent about asking others to lend a hand. People actually enjoy contributing their specialty to such an event and it certainly keeps preparation to a minimum for all involved.

Typically the host or hostess is responsible for providing the necessary plates, napkins, flatware and cup or glasses. These can be anything from holiday motif paper and plastic to china, crystal, linen and silver--depending on how casual or formal the party will be.

Merry Berry Punch has a spirited and plain version. Both are a blend of lemon flavored ice tea mix, cranberry apple drink and pineapple juice, with ginger ale added for sparkle. Rum creates the spirited version.

Holiday Cheer Punch stretches a bottle of sparkling wine into 30 servings with tea, fruit punch and pink lemonade. An ice ring made of pink lemonade keeps it cold and adds a decorative touch.

Lemon-Champagne Punch also uses an ice ring, this time with citrus fruit. The punch is a combination of lemon juice, white wine, Champagne, club soda, brandy and Curacao.

Combine apple-cranberry and orange drink, lemon juice and lemon-lime soft drink for Four Star Punch. Holiday Spiced Punch is another non-alcoholic, flavorful choice--this time served warm.

MERRY BERRY PUNCH

6 rounded tablespoons lemon flavored ice tea mix

4 cups ice water

4 cups cranberry-apple drink

4 cups pineapple juice

1 cup strawberries, halved

1 lime, sliced and halved

3 cups ginger ale, chilled

Combine tea mix with water. Add cranberry-apple drink and pineapple juice. Chill.

To serve, pour mixture over ice in punch bowl or pitcher. Garnish with strawberries and lime slices. Pour in ginger ale. Makes 4 quarts.

Spirited Variation: Add 1 cup rum to tea, cranberry-apple and pineapple juice mixture before chilling. Makes 4 1/4 quarts.

HOLIDAY CHEER PUNCH

2 cups boiling water

4 tea bags

3/4 cup sugar

1 (64-ounce) carton fruit punch

1 (6-ounce) can frozen concentrate for pink lemonade, thawed

1/2 cup Curacao

1 (4/5-quart) sparkling wine, chilled

Pink Lemonade Ice Ring

Pour boiling water over tea bags and let stand 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, add sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in fruit punch, undiluted lemonade concentrate and Curacao. Chill.

To serve, pour mixture into punch bowl. Add sparkling wine and Pink Lemonade Ice Ring. Makes 3 1/2 to 4 quarts.

Pink Lemonade Ice Ring

1 (6-ounce) can frozen concentrate for pink lemonade

Prepare lemonade according to package directions. Pour into 1-quart mold. Freeze until firm.

LEMON-CHAMPAGNE PUNCH

1 cup lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1 (4/5-quart) Chablis or dry white wine, chilled

1 (4/5-quart) pink Champagne, chilled

1 (28-ounce) bottle club soda, chilled

1/2 cup brandy

1/2 cup Curacao or orange flavored liqueur

Citrus Ice Ring

Combine lemon juice and sugar in punch bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar. Slowly add Chablis, Champagne, soda, brandy and Curacao. Add Citrus Ice Ring. Makes about 11 cups.

Citrus Ice Ring

1 lemon

1 orange

Mint leaves

Fill 1 1/2 quart ring mold 1/2 full with water. Freeze until firm.

Slice lemon and orange. Cut orange slices in halves. Arrange citrus slices and leaves on top of ice ring. Carefully add water to within 1/4 inch of rim. Freeze. To unmold, place briefly in warm water.

FOUR STAR PUNCH

1 (46-ounce) can apple-cranberry drink, chilled

1 1/2 cups orange drink, chilled

1/3 cup lemon juice concentrate

1 quart lemon-lime soda, chilled

Combine apple-cranberry drink, orange drink and lemon juice in punch bowl. Chill. To serve, add lemon-lime soda. Makes about 11 cups.

HOLIDAY SPICED PUNCH

4 cups water

2/3 cup sugar

20 whole cloves

2 sticks cinnamon

1 (32-ounce) bottle apple cider, chilled

1 (24-ounce) bottle white or purple grape juice, chilled

1 cup lemon juice

Ice

Combine water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon in saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Chill, then remove spices.

To serve, combine sugar syrup, cider, grape and lemon juices over ice in punch bowl. Makes about 12 cups.

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