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Well, hi there!

This blog is to show to the world the hidden gems of life down south. There'll be a bit of gardening, a bit of cooking, a bit of nature, restaurants, shops, and scenes. I'll be doing some homemaking, some renovating, and some adventuring! And drinking. There will definitely be some drinking. If you like passing a good time, let us show you how we do it!

Christmas Eve Champagne Punch

Christmas Eve Champagne Punch

Over the past three-ish years, Alan and I have been working dutifully on restoring our old home. Every Christmas, we look forward to a handful of newly-formed traditions, such as inviting all our friends, family, and neighbors over for our annual Christmas Eve party and unveiling a newly renovated room (this year it's the Master Bathroom...phew...)! Another beloved part of that same event is our Christmas Eve Punch. It's just enough boozy, super-easy to make, and batch-able excepting the sparkling wine, which makes for an altogether easy hosting job for me. Try it at your own shindig this year!

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Christmas Eve Champagne Punch

  • 2 cups Rosemary Simple Syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 cups orange liqueur, preferably Grand Marnier
  • 1 Tablespoon Angostura bitters
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2.5 bottles (750mL) sparkling wine (choose something traditional method, such as Cava, Prosecco, or Cremant)

In a punch bowl, combine first 4 ingredients over ice. Pour on sparkling wine, combining gently so as not to release too much bubble. That's it! See... I told you it was easy! If you're looking for even less work during the event, go ahead and mix up your Rosemary simple syrup, orange liqueur, lime, and Angostura bitters in batches beforehand for easy refilling. Add the bubbly last for best effect and maintenance of carbonation. For the best ice to use, see the "ice wreath" note below. Cubes are NOT ideal. They dissolve too fast, meaning ineffective cooling and watery punch. 

Rosemary Simple Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 rosemary sprigs, coarsely chopped

Bring water to a simmer on the stove, and stir in sugar. Once dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the rosemary sprigs, bruising them a little as you stir. Let cool, then funnel entire mixture into large mason jar or bottle with lid. Allow to steep at room temperature for two days, gently agitating a few times a day to reincorporate rosemary. Strain before serving.

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As I mentioned before, it's best to avoid ice cubes. Instead, I like to create a fancy ice wreath for this festive holiday punch. In an attractive bundt pan, layer sliced limes and oranges. Fill 1/3 full with water, sprinkle in some cranberries and rosemary sprigs, and allow to set in the freezer for two hours or so. Once hardened, create another layer and freeze thoroughly. Allow to sit 5 minutes at room temperature before inverting over your punch bowl. The wreath should fall right out! As it melts, the fruit will begin to float around the bowl; continuing to flavor your punch!

A Taste of Heaven on Earth

A Taste of Heaven on Earth