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Champagne Punch with Pineapple and Sauterne

When it comes to entertaining a large crowd, there is almost no tool that I love to rely on more than a gorgeous bowl of punch! I have several punch bowls that I use for different occasions and it seems that wherever there's a punch bowl, there's an instant party! This recipe was given to me by my closest friend Bethane, passed down to her from her father Albert who was one of the most fun men that I have ever known! We call this recipe "Al's Standard", as it was always the centerpiece of his buffet table. I don't like grenadine myself, so in place of that ingredient feel free to substitute as I do, with a cup of fresh pomegranate juice and a 1/3 of a cup of simple syrup! The perfect garnish for this particular punch would be a pretty ice ring made in a tubular jello mold with fresh berries, pomegranate seeds and fresh mint, basil and those lovely edible flowers that you can find at the market. Simply line the mold with some of the fruit and add a bit of water. Freeze it for an hour or two and add more of the fruit,flowers, herbs and water. If you make the mold in two layers the fruit will freeze evenly, making a prettier presentation!

As much as I dislike it, this would be a wonderful punch to douse with huge dollops of lemon sherbet or pineapple sorbet. The beauty of this basic recipe is that it can be tailored to fit almost any occasion using simple ingredients and your imagination!
I would caution though against using too inexpensive a champagne in this recipe. The champagne mixed with the sweet sauterne, brandy and fresh juices has a potent kick! A more expensive champagne, 15 to 20 dollars a bottle, will give this blend a bit more more sophistication while lightening the impact of the sugar!

This recipe can serve 30 people easily!
You will need:

Juice 6 lemons- I prefer Meyer lemons with their subtle, floral sweetness
cup fresh pineapple juice
1/3 Cup grenadine/ or pomegranate/simple syrup substitution
4 jiggers of brandy or French cognac
1 bottle of Sauterne- A delicious and very sweet French dessert wine
2 bottles of Champagne

Chill all ingredients and pour in order of listing into punch bowl. When ready to serve, add the ice ring/sherbet and enjoy!

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