We rang in 2012 at our friends’ annual New Year’s Eve party. Every year, Mike makes up a feast that starts with crab rangoon. Then comes the pork lo mein, beef & broccoli and (new this year) spicy red curry. Finally, the General Tso chicken is ready.
The mild General Tso chicken comes out first, then Mike moves outside to make the spicy version. If he doesn’t, our eyes water as we breathe in the spice for the rest of the night. As he brings in the last of the spicy chicken in a bright red serving bowl, he reminds us, “now what did we all learn in school? Red equals hot!”
All the while, Mike plays bartender as we place our orders from the extensive drinks menu his wife Courtney put together. Most guests start out with “Falk water” (aka tap water), beer, wine or amaretto sours.
Mike and Courtney are avid game collectors and trivia buffs (Mike actually won the 2006 Jeopardy Tournament of Champions!), so dinner is always followed by hours of games. When the dishes have been cleared and the games begin, we abandon our beers and wine and start in on the brandy slush. Icy and fruity with just enough alcohol, the brandy slush is the perfect accompaniment to rowdy games of Pit and Outburst. For Pit, the glasses are banished to one end of the table to avoid any accidents. Let’s just say we’ve learned from past mistakes…
While half the party plays Pit, the remainder of the group breaks out the Wii party games and Personal Preference. Towards the end of the evening, everyone moves on to ice cream- and coffee-based drinks, hoping that the cold ice cream or caffeine will help keep us awake for a few more rounds of Heartthrob (the best cheesy game ever) and Catchphrase.
From our friend Mike and the Gritzmacher family cookbook. Perfect for game nights and large parties…this recipe makes a lot of slush! *Note: the prep time is actually 48 hours, not 24.
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 9 cups cold water
- 4 bags green tea
- 1 16-ounce can orange juice concentrate
- 1 16-ounce can lemonade concentrate
- 2 cups brandy
- Citrus soda such as 50-50, Squirt or Sprite
- In a large stockpot, bring the sugar and 7 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the tea and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, add 2 cups cold water and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Stir in the orange juice concentrate, lemon concentrate and brandy. Freeze, uncovered, for 48 hours, then transfer the slush to airtight freezer containers until ready to use.
- To serve, fill a glass with equal amounts of slush and soda.
Make Ahead and Storage
The slush can be frozen in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks.