Cooking with Beer: Beer Punch
For our latest New Year’s Eve party, our friend Jill wanted to make a punch that somehow incorporated beer. Not being able to find a good one, she settled on Martha Stewart’s Apple Cider, Cranberry and Ginger punch, which includes “ginger beer.” Well, ginger beer isn’t good enough for our crew—Jill knew she had to use real beer. After doing some research, she settled on Delirium Tremens being the dominant beer in the punch. When all was said and done, the punch turned out fantastically and was one of the highlights of the night. The original recipe made four servings; this one has been bumped up to make about 20 servings—and you should be sure to make a lot, because everyone will love it.
2 cups fresh cranberries
¾ cups sugar
Fresh grated ginger to taste (about 1 ½-2 inch stick of ginger)
9 cups apple cider
1 ½ lemons, squeezed
1 ¾ cups gin
1 large-format bottle Delirium Tremens
1 small bottle Delirium Tremens
Sliced lemon (for garnish)
In a large punch bowl, add the cranberries, sugar and ginger. Muddle together, breaking open all the cranberries so the juice can mix with the sugar and ginger. Once done, add the cider, gin, beer and squeeze all the juice from the lemon halves into the punch. If desired, use your extra lemon half, or another lemon, to slice and throw in the punch as a garnish. Chill and serve.
When LeeAnne and I made this for our friend’s birthday party, I couldn’t find any big bottles of Delirium Tremens, so I went with two regular-sized bottles and a bottle of Weyerbacher’s Verboten Belgian pale ale. It was close enough to the Tremens—and already in my fridge—that it worked quite well. If you can’t find the Tremens, or can’t find enough, any Belgian strong pale ale or pale ale would work. Other Belgians, such as a dubbel or a tripel, may have too much of a dark fruit taste to be a viable option.
For the party, we also added 2-3 cups more of the cider and an entire bottle of gin rather than just the 1 ¾ cup. All the sugar masks the alcohol of the gin, making it a potent and potentially dangerous drink because it tastes like sweet apple cider. The beer does help to bring down the sweetness so it’s not overwhelmingly so, and also adds a hint of banana and a little funky undertone.
This is a definite crowd-pleaser and after two parties has a definite spot in our regular line-up. Everyone loves it, it tastes great, and it seems that no matter how much gin you put in it, you can’t taste the alcohol—which could be great or terrible, depending on how much of it you actually drink. Based on recent experience, though, it will be a bad thing, because people cannot seem to stop drinking it once they start.