How-to Tuesday: How To Get Grandma Drunk—I Mean, How To Make Sweet Surrender Punch

Posted by Basia Padlo

Happy Quirksgiving! By now, you’re probably mentally preparing to reunite with all your extended relatives. Hang in there, we’re going through the same thing.

This year, when you’re sitting in the living room with your cousins (after the inevitable Get Out Of My Kitchen scenario), do yourself a favor: make some punch. Everyone will have a glass, relax, and remember that they actually DO like their siblings. And then Uncle Joe will tell you that story he loves about how he met Patrick Stewart in the grocery store and it’ll all go smoothly from there.

My suggestion for the perfect wintry beverage is Sweet Surrender Punch from Winter Cocktails. Since it has chamomile tea in it, serve it at teatime! Enjoy, have fun with your folks, and have a great holiday.


This merry and bright winter punch marries chamomile’s delicate floral notes to honey and champagne, with a dash of infused alcohol thrown in for good measure. The result is sure to please your palate and energize your winter-weary bones.

Makes about 13 cups (about 3 quarts), serves 24


–     1 cup honey

–     1 (750-milliliter) bottle gin or vodka, chilled*

–     2 cups brewed chamomile tea, chilled**

–     ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, strained

–     2 (750-milliliter) bottles champagne, chilled

* For extra flavor, infuse the alcohol with dried chamomile flowers (or chamomile tea leaves) and/or pear. In an airtight container, combine up to 1 cup of chamomile and/or 2 peeled, diced pears with 1 (750-milliliter) bottle gin or vodka, close tightly, and shake. Store in a cool, dark place for 3 to 5 days, shaking the container once or twice daily. Strain and discard solids before using.

** To make chamomile tea, bring 2 ½ cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add ½ cup dried chamomile flowers or 8 chamomile tea bags and steep until mixture comes to room temperature. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing down on solids to release all liquid. Discard solids.


1. First, make an ice mold (this will chill the punch and melt slowly without diluting it): Fill a Bundt pan or medium-size metal mixing bowl with water and freeze until set.

2. Combine honey and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until honey is completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate until chilled.

3. Stir liquor, tea, syrup, and lemon juice together in a punch bowl or other serving bowl.

4. Remove ice mold from freezer. Run container under warm water, just until ice begins to loosen. Turn mold over onto a surface covered with a clean kitchen towel. Grip container and lift it off the molded ice. If ice mold is stuck, run it under warm water again. When ready to serve, stir champagne into punch and slide in ice mold.


Recipe and photo from Winter Cocktails: Mulled Ciders, Hot Toddies, Punches, Pitchers, and Cocktail Party Snacks by Maria del Mar Sarcasa and Tara Striano.