Festive Fun in the Freezer!

Time to get creative and time to add a little fun to the holiday festivities this year! Are you planning a holiday punch or trying out a new cocktail recipe for your adult beverages? Why not add a little fun to your drinks by adding a little splash of flavor and, well, a little shape?

To help me out with this post, a little friend that’s been hanging out from time to time on Instagram, the one and only, #InTheKnowMan, was in my kitchen as my assistant. I think he was also there to make sure I was doing things properly and not goofing off. But uh, I think really it was *he* who was goofing off! In case you aren’t aware, #InTheKnowMan is all the way from the chocolate factory of Riegelein (located in Germany) and is helping Gourmet International out with some holiday tips and advice.

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In the past few years, silicone baking molds have become super popular in kitchens across the globe. They are super easy to use, super easy to clean, and most of all – super easy to pop out the molded items that have been set inside! These silicone molds have been used for cupcakes, brownies, ice cubes, candy – and for myself, I actually use these silicone molds to make homemade soaps! Last Christmas I tried to make little gingerbread soaps – but these guys are pretty small, so I gave up the mold to be used for ice cubes or candies.

Soo… speaking of ice cubes. I had an idea. Helllllloooo Hero Nectars! Why not freeze that nectar in a cute, festive, holiday silicone mold and add it to my favorite beverage? A peach flavored gingerbread man would be great in prosecco or champagne.

And talk about easy to do… just place your silicone mold on a flat surface. I suggest placing it on a cookie sheet so that it will be easier to transfer and place into the freezer. Pour the Hero nectar in a smaller Pyrex measuring cup so it’s easier to pour into the molds. Take care while pouring into the mold cavities, try not to overfill.
Once they are all filled, stick them in the freezer and let them FREEZE!

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As you can see below, #InTheKnowMan was more than happy to help me pop the tray into one his favorite places in my kitchen, the freezer!

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*insert a few hours of wait time here*

And finally we can take the tray out of the freezer! The nectar is all shiny and pretty! Check out the frozen little fellas in my glass!

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So I don’t have an exact recipe to provide for you, but here are some ideas… you don’t need ice cubes, since you have your nectar cubes. You have the flavor already, packed in those little cubes of fun. Think of your favorite beverages and how you can ratio your cubes of flavor to alcohol and mixer content. This may require some trial and error. And… well, there’s no harm in that, just be safe and responsible. If you are not home and you drove yourself somewhere and are sharing this fun idea, we please ask you to call a cab, Über or find a designated driver to help you home. Please do not drink and drive.

You do not need to have any alcohol added to your beverage at all, you can easily make a fun punch for the kids, yourself, or for those who do not drink. Silicone molds come in all shapes and sizes, and also range in holiday decor, so make your non-alocoholic punch your own! Use smaller molds for ice cubes or use larger molds for larger pieces that you would perhaps normally use as a ring mold for a classic punch. Play around with the molds and the different flavored Hero nectar! If you come up with an awesome recipe, please share with us and we will make sure to share it here and spread the word! ENJOY!

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Something to Warm You Up.

Baby it’s cold outside! Well, it’s trying to get cold outside here in Michigan! Slowly, but soon, we hope to see some more snow flying around! The weather here is erratic at best, from windy rain storms, to some bursts of random snow, to warm temperatures reminding us of spring time. Just give it five minutes and the weather will change! The expected high temperature today is 57° F on this November day! Say whaaaat?!

To keep us warm and toasty (or at least to get us in the mindset of a wintery scene), I found this cranberry-orange punch from Gerstacker. You simply warm it up and enjoy! Perfect for enjoying some nice gingerbread, pastries, stollen and other treats this holiday season and it comes alcohol-free! Best when served at 58-62° C (or 136-143° F), this fruity punch will warm you and your guests up in a jiffy!

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When you first open the bottle, you get that cranberry scent followed by what smells like fresh orange juice. Carefully warm up the punch on the stove top, keep mind that you don’t want to cook it, you just want to warm it up. If you’re in a hurry, I suppose quickly putting it in the microwave would be okay, just don’t let it go too long. Preferably, you want to gently warm this on the stove. There is a lot of flavor in this punch – from the cranberry to the orange for its fruity base, there are spices that are blended in that soothe the taste buds as you enjoy a sip! It has a hint of sweetness and then at times there is an underlying hint of herbal tea. It sounds weird, but it tastes great!

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If you have a winter get-together or holiday party, be sure to have this handy. Your guests will enjoy this beverage, and best of all, even the youngsters can enjoy this as it is non-alcoholic. Seriously, grab a warm cup of this Gerstacker punch and get some gingerbread! Or maybe stollen. Or maybe both. Yeah, both. Your taste buds will thank you! Well, they should thank me, since I gave you the idea! Eh…! I know, I’m lame. Nibble, nibble!