milk punch and elf shoes

Before one goes galivanting around the streets to spread Christmas cheer through song, a certain amount of liquid courage is needed.  We were hoping to carry on last year's Progressive Caroling event, where we caroled between several houses with different snacks and drinks at each.  But as busy as we all were this year (and as fast as the holiday season seemed to sneak up!), that plan got canned until next year.

However, a small group of us gathered at my place to start and I knew some type of festive beverage was in order.  Then I remembered this delicious brandy milk punch I'd had in New Orleans this summer.  If there's ever a good time to mix milk and booze, it's Christmastime!

Some recipes call for powdered sugar; others for simple syrup.  I didn't have simple syrup prepared, but I thought powdered sugar and a little water worked just fine!  Some use milk, some half-and-half, or some blend the two (I preferred a blend!).  Some use only brandy, while others add bourbon or rum to boot.  Smitten Kitchen published this recipe from the Canal House in New Orleans and I think it's a great starting point.  I myself enjoyed some variations on it, including adding aged rum, allspice dram, and Faretti biscotti liqueur (separately, people! not all three at once!)  

 Brandy Rum Punch

5 cups of a mixture of whole milk and half-and-half (4:1 or 3:2)
1 1/2 cups brandy (or bourbon or whiskey... or a combination of whiskey and rum..)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
freshly grated nutmeg

In a pitcher, whisk together milk, half-and-half, sugar and vanilla until sugar is dissolved.  Add bourbon and freeze until slushy (3-4 hours up to a day).  Stir before serving it in chilled glasses, finished with fresh nutmeg.  In a hurry?  Shake with ice and strain into glasses.  Cheers!

Some scenes from our caroling expedition...

nerd alert: I own elf shoes.

I call this one Mistletoe Encounter with Tambourine

we found teeny presents at the Yellow Jacket! 

Kara made these delicious snowball cupcakes

Apparently I am a harmonica zombie