Smoking Swamp Halloween Punch
We designed this murky punch to look like a smoking swamp by propping it with a little dry ice and an ice block filled with smushed-up lettuces and stalks of mint. The punch itself is a potent combo of gin, Green Chartreuse (which gives it a slightly greenish hue and herbal flavor), fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and some sparkling apple cider.
What to buy: Dry ice is available at party stores, some grocery stores, and some gas stations. It’s fun, but remember to observe safety rules when using it:
• When transporting it, be sure it’s not in a tightly sealed container. We recommend using a Styrofoam cooler with a loose-fitting lid.
• Don’t store extra dry ice in your freezer; keep it outside in the Styrofoam cooler with the loose-fitting lid.
• Never handle it with your bare hands; use heavy gloves or kitchen tongs.
• When breaking it up, be sure to have on protective eyewear, long sleeves, and gloves, and do it outside.
• Never put it directly in your beverage or you risk swallowing it.
• We recommend only having it come in contact with plastic or metal because it can cause glass bowls to crack.
• Only use dry ice for effects in very well-ventilated areas and outdoors—dry ice turns into carbon dioxide vapor, so never use it in confined spaces.
For more on how to use dry ice safely, read up here.
Game plan: You can make the punch base 8 hours ahead of time and chill it, then add the sparkling cider and club soda when you’re ready to serve.
For the ice block:
- 2 cups spring mix, mesclun, or baby spinach
- 12 fresh mint sprigs
For the punch:
- 3 cups gin, chilled
- 1 (12.7-ounce) bottle Green Chartreuse, chilled
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 15 medium lemons), chilled
- 1/2 teaspoon angostura bitters
- 2 (750-milliliter) bottles sparkling apple cider, chilled
- 1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
- 2 cups water
- 1 small block of dry ice, broken into 2-inch pieces
For the ice block:
- 1The day before serving the punch, fill a small saucepan three-quarters of the way full with water. Crush the greens with your hands until wilted and add them to the saucepan.
- 2Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, then punch the mint sprigs through the plastic so they’re held upright in the pan. Place in the freezer and freeze until solid.
For the punch:
- 1Combine the gin, Chartreuse, lemon juice, and bitters in a 5-quart plastic or metal bowl. (At this point the mixture can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours.) When ready to serve, nest the punch bowl inside a wider 10-quart plastic or metal bowl (do not use glass or ceramic bowls for either part of this setup, because the cold from the dry ice can crack them). Gently stir in the apple cider and club soda, being careful not to overmix or your punch will be flat.
- 2Remove the saucepan with the ice block from the freezer. Cut away and discard the plastic wrap (do not pull it over the mint sprigs). Dip the outside of the saucepan in hot water or hold it over the flame on a stovetop burner to release the ice block. Remove the ice block from the saucepan and place it in the punch.
- 3Pour the water into the wider outer bowl. Using tongs or gloves, place 1 piece of the dry ice into the water. Do not put the dry ice directly into the punch. Store the remaining dry ice in a well-ventilated area or outside and add additional pieces to the outer bowl as needed for the smoke effect. Serve immediately.
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