Serious Eats: Recipes

Zero Proof: Warm Witch's Brew

[Photo: Christianne Winthrop]

Whether you're taking to the streets or staying home to pass out candy, try stirring up a witch's brew in your cauldron this Halloween. Made with equal parts pomegranate and cranberry juices, this deliciously dark (but alcohol-free) concoction is perfect for sipping between trips to the front door or packed into a Thermos for a spooky night out with candy-seeking trick-or-treaters.

The secret to this warm brew is in the spice mixture—a slight variation on Chinese five spice that with a bit of fresh ginger and black pepper. Peppercorns might seem like an unusual choice for a sweet drink, but it adds a subtle warmth that is delightfully complex when mixed with the cinnamon and star anise.

I like to use unsweetened cranberry juice, which you can find in natural and health food stores and most well-stocked supermarkets, because it allows me to control the sweetness. However, if you're having trouble finding it, feel free to substitute sweetened cranberry juice and decrease the amount of simple syrup.

While this drink really doesn't need a garnish, an orange slice makes for a bright and colorful addition. You could also use eye of newt if you have some lying around.

About the author: Christianne Winthrop is a freelance food writer, boutique caterer and culinary instructor. Her personal blog is Better Bitter Blonde and she lives in Los Angeles with her husband Bob and their beta fish, Hercules.

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