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Fighting the Cold—with Punch


Earlier this week, the cold and the snow had me feeling a bit grumpy. I looked to my icon and fighting guru Bruce Lee for a better way to deal with this nonsense, and I remembered this valuable quote, “Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch.”

I’m ready to strike against the cold creeping up my fingers, but my punches are coming from the kitchen—in the form of hot toddies and fun punches. *POW*

Although we first started calling punch by its name in 1632, there are countless variations of the drink that keep it relevant today. Whether it’s served up as an apéritif in porcelain or featured as the main event at a house party, punch is practical, group-friendly, and fun to make. *BAM*

Why not take the opportunity to feature the juice of the season, apple cider, in a warm, satisfying punch? I’ve even whipped up a recipe for you. *BANG*

*WHAM* Wassail

(i.e. Punch when you have to punch)

Serves 6

7 cups apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
6-8 whole star anise
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of allspice
1.5 cups Cointreau®

In a large dutch oven, bring all of the ingredients (except the Cointreau) to a low boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for an hour. Serve hot; spike with Cointreau. Garnish with whole cinnamon sticks and star anise.

Not prepared to make your own hot toddy at home? I know a place where they’ll fight the cold for you: Head to W.A Frost. There, you can warm your fingers with their amazing Star Anise Hot Toddy, which features their star anise and clove house-infused brandy.

Star anise not your thing? No problem. Try a cup of their Hot Buttered Pumpkin, Mulled Wine, Wassail Bowl, Hot Apple Pie, or Irish Coffee instead. And just in case your fighting form needs a break from the booze, they’ve got more than a dozen hot tea offerings and several varieties of USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified coffees. *BOOM*

Are you ready to fight back against winter’s chill? What’s your secret punch recipe? Who’s serving up a butt-kicking hot toddy in your neighborhood?

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

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