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Spike your Holiday Punch with Herbs

Punch is a popular holiday refreshment, and like so many culinary staples, it can be given a fresh and exciting twist with the use of herbs. As shown in this guide to herbs and holiday punch, posted by the longrunning health and wellness web magazine Mother Earth Living, different herbs and punch recipes can be paired to bring the most out of each other's fragrance and taste. For example, the tart rose hip is complemented by citrus and cranberry, while subtle chamomile can go with any kind of punch.

Here are two recipes to get you started:

Hot Mulled Apple Cider with Cranberry and Rose Hips
This is a classic with a twist. Rose hips and cranberry juice accompany apple cider to make this spicy beverage.
• 3 tablespoons dried rose hips
• 4 cups hot water
• 3 cinnamon sticks
• 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
• 4 cups apple cider
• 2 cups cranberry juice
• One orange, sliced thin
• Cinnamon sticks for garnish, if desired
1. Steep rose hips in hot water for 10 minutes, then strain. Transfer all ingredients to a large saucepan. Simmer on low for at least 1 hour before serving.
2. To make ahead, steep tea and then add all ingredients to a large container and refrigerate. Before serving, transfer to saucepan and simmer as usual.
3. Serve in festive mugs with a cinnamon stick as a garnish.
Spiced Chamomile Apple Punch
This punch features the delicate apple flavors of chamomile tea and apple juice flavored with a hint of cinnamon and citrus.
• 6 chamomile tea bags
• 3 cinnamon sticks
• 6 cups hot water
• 4 cups apple juice
• 1 orange, sliced thin
• 1 lemon, sliced thin
• Lemon or orange sorbet
1. In a large container, steep chamomile tea bags and cinnamon sticks in hot water for 10 minutes.
2. Remove tea bags. Add apple juice, orange slices, and lemon slices. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours so all the flavors can combine.
3. Serve in pretty glasses with a small scoop of sorbet as a garnish.

 

For more information on pairing herbs and punch, as well as 3 more delicious herbal punch recipes, head over to Mother Earth Living.

 

Photo: http://www.drinkoftheweek.com/