This time last year I made a winter punch, it was prosecco and gin-based with seasonal citrus, ginger and rosemary. It was crowd-pleaser, and a looker, and I ended up making it numerous times. I started thinking about making something easy-drinking and unpretentious, wintery without being overly holiday. Here’s where I landed – a wintertime riff on the shandy, the beloved British beer & ginger ale (or lager/lemonade) quencher. Taking the shandy as a jumping-off point, I introduced a sweet-soup lemon-maple syrup, belly-warming brandy, and the boldest ginger beer on offer. An effervescent, clean, bright pilsner keeps everything easy-drinking, and light. As much as I liked last year’s offering – I think this punch might take the prize.
My wife did approve this new recipe…..
Winter Shandy Punch
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup (apple) brandy
1 cup (strong) ginger beer
~4 12-ounce pilsner beers
Strain the lemon juice into a small saucepan, stir in the maple syrup, and bring just to a simmer over medium-low heat. Once the syrup is well incorporated into the lemon juice remove from heat, transfer to a medium bowl, and chill.
To assemble the punch, add the brandy and well-chilled ginger beer to the lemon-maple mixture. Stir well, then transfer to a punch bowl. If you have an ice block, place this (or equivalent ice cubes) in the bowl as well, along with some thinly sliced lemon. Now add the beer to taste – 4 bottles of pilsner seems about right, but you might go a bit more or less depending on how strong or sweet you like your punch.
Makes one bowl of punch.