Feel like your guests might be wallflowers (a common problem in Taiwan)? Want to get them a little more animated? Try this! It really works! Author tested!
It's also got a nice flavor - lemon juice tempers the harshness of all the alcohol (like any good punch), and the herbal elements lend it a vaguely pagan, Solstice-y undertone. The caffeine in the black tea keeps people awake - plus tea was an ingredient in historic punches so it's totally legit. While the alcohol de-wallflowers them. The ginger and cranberry give it a nice Christmassy feel. Enjoy!
Jenna's Vaguely Pagan Christmas Punch
full pot of black tea (5-6 bags of Taj Mahal black tea boiled in a pot is good too)
at least 7-10 ginger "coins", or chopped ginger
a few handfuls of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves (to taste)
a ton of sugar (a few cups should do) - brown or white depending on taste
a liter of cranberry juice
a large bottle of lemon juice
2 cans ginger ale
a bottle of brandy (500ML is OK) (doesn't have to be fancy)
3/4 bottle of rum (can be cheap but not too cheap)
3/4 bottle of bourbon (can be expensive or just Jim Beam)
1/2 bottle lemongrass liqueur (Marie Brizard is fine)
a tray of ice
a dash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier if you feel like it
a crushed nutmeg if you feel like it
Boil a pot of tea with tea bags, ginger rounds, and lemongrass/kaffir lime leaf to taste, and all the sugar until it dissolves and makes a sweet, strong herbal black tea. Throw in the tray of ice to cool it down.
Once cool, sift out the tea bags and spices and pour into a large punch-making bowl or bucket. Add the cranberry juice, lemon juice and all the alcohol. Stop and taste, add ginger ale, mix and taste again. Adjust for flavor/perosnal taste.
Serve in a punch bowl with a large hunk of ice (ice frozen in a bowl will do well), garnished with ginger if you like.