Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Mom's Holiday Punch


As many of you know my mother was a wonderful cook. In recent years I didn't get home to Louisville as often as I would have liked, but one time I never missed was Christmas.

We've always shared our Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners with the family of a cousin of my mother's. There were eight children between the two families, so we had quite a crowd. We would gather in the early afternoon for a huge traditional holiday dinner, with turkey and all the trimmings, a big ham and every possible side dish. When the dishes were done, we kids (and later the grand-kids) would play with Christmas presents and games while the grown-ups chatted.

Late in the afternoon, the coffee would go on, the desserts brought out and my mom would make a big crystal bowlful of a very tasty holiday punch. I don't know where the recipe came from, since she's been making it for many years, but I love it. It's not too sweet, in spite of the amount of sugar. I think it really hits the spot as an accompaniment for holiday dessert, or as a tasty non-alcoholic offering for any party.

My mother passed away last year and after the service for her, we invited family and friends back to her house for supper before heading back to their homes, some quite a long way away. One of the things we girls made was the holiday punch.

Give it a try for your holiday party or dinner. Perhaps it will become a tradition for you, too.


2 packages strawberry Kool-aid (unsweetened)
1 46-ounce can pineapple juice
2 6-ounce (or 1 12-ounce) cans frozen pink lemonade (see note)
4 cups sugar
3 quarts water
3 liters ginger ale

Mix everything except the ginger ale in a large bowl and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour into three large plastic or metal containers. Freeze solid. Fifteen minutes before serving, unmold one container into your punch bowl. Pour ginger ale over the frozen punch mix. As the punch mix dissolves. add more ginger ale, or simply smush up the punch mix to make a sort of slushy punch.

This keeps a long time in the freezer, so I freeze a couple of large molds, then some smaller ones, just in case I have a few folks in and want to do something festive. One-third of the recipe will serve 15-20 people.

NOTE: Mom always insisted that it had to be pink lemonade. I couldn't find it once, and tried the regular frozen lemonade, thinking "How much difference could it make?" By George, she was right! Fortunately frozen pink lemonade is available in almost every supermarket now.
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