Holidays are all about being with friends and family, and everyone gets thirsty, right? That was my line of thinking when I set out to pick this week’s recipe. I wanted to find an easy punch, and I ended up selecting one that may not be something you would think about serving during the holidays, but could actually be really helpful this time of year.
Both lavender and peppermint have been used as folk medicine in many cultures – peppermint is said to ease digestion problems (common this time of year) and lavender is thought to increase relaxation (commonly needed this time of year!). The combination of the two flavors blend really well, and when you add Concord grape juice (thought to increase mental acuity) and ginger ale (also helpful for the tummy) you get a lightly spiced floral punch that tastes really refreshing.
In season, you could make this punch using almost all local ingredients – peppermint and lavender can grow just about anywhere that isn’t arctic tundra, and concord grapes grow really well in Washington (which is probably why we are the top producer in the nation). Because it’s winter, I didn’t have all fresh ingredients at my disposal (aside from fresh spearmint, which I cleaned and froze leaves into ice cubes for garnish), so to the bulk department I went! Santa Cruz organic Concord grape juice is on special right now (nice bonus) and I decided to use Blue Sky organic ginger ale to round out the punch. You can use spearmint instead of peppermint in this recipe if you aren’t a fan of the pungency of peppermint, as spearmint is milder.
If you are looking for a “spirited” punch, then some high quality vodka added before serving would certainly add some cheer!
Purple Passion Lavender-Mint Punch
adapted from Lavender Association of Western Colorado
makes about 9 cups
- 1/3 c + 1 t dried peppermint*
- 6 c water
- 1 heaping T dried lavender flowers*
- 1 liter ginger ale (cold), about 2 1/2 cans
- 1 c concord grape juice (cold)
- Bunch of fresh mint, for garnish
Note—if you are using fresh herbs to brew the tea, double the amounts
- Prepare your minty ice cubes—rinse fresh mint and place a leaf in each section of an ice-cube tray and fill with water —freeze until solid.
- Boil your water in a large pot and then turn off the heat. Add the dried peppermint, cover, and allow to steep for about 10 minutes.
- Add the lavender flowers and allow the tea to cool. You can cool it in the fridge if you are crunched for time.
- Strain your tea through a metal strainer into a pretty punch bowl or pitcher.
- Add the ginger ale, grape juice, and ice cubes.
- To garnish, float lavender and mint springs on top.
*Pregnant women should consult with their doctors before ingesting peppermint and/or lavender
BONUS Recipe – I wanted to make this Spiced Lemonade recipe because I think it sounds delicious, but since I am allergic to citrus I figured it was best to leave this one to my readers. I urge you to make it and tell me if it was delicious or not!
You can make this lemonade ahead of time, simply store in the refrigerator. Serve warm or cold.
- 9 cups water
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 cup raw sugar
- 1 T vanilla
- 1/2 t ground cloves
- Lemon Slices
- Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- When the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Allow lemonade to simmer until fragrant.
- Serve with lemon slices.
Tip: The longer it sits, the more you’ll taste the spices