Editor's Note: Derek Miller is on vacation this week so in place of News and Notes, we bring an encouraging recipe.

  • 1 bottle brandy (nothing too expensive)
  • 1 pint Irish whiskey (this would usually be rum, but here in the Twin
  • Cities, we like our Irish whiskey. Jameson is recommended)
  • 1/2 cup cherry brandy (like Cherry Heering)
  • 1/2 cup ginger liqueur (there's a French version from Domaine de
  • Canton, or use ginger syrup, see below)
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 bottle sparkling wine (like Prosecco)

Peace on earth. Goodwill toward man. Clearly, that's not happening.

Still, one should make an effort, right?


Let's acknowledge that there's a lot of ugliness, hate and fear spinning the globe around right now. But this is a time of the year when we tell ourselves stories of light and warmth coming into a cold, dark world. There's value in that, right?

And there are a LOT of those stories being played on the stages of our Twin Cities' theaters. So that's good, right?

And I think these stories are worth telling, not just for their seasonal infusion of good cheer, but I suspect they are all pretty much something that terrorists would hate.

Now I know this is just a dumb drink recipe and I'm not meant, or expected, to make  any bold political statements, but I will anyway. Terrorism. I'm against it. In all its forms, both domestic and international.

So I've been thinking of things that would piss off terrorists and theater's one of them. They don't much seem to care for irony, do they? That's our bread and butter. Am I right, people? And humor, and smart, funny women, and moral ambiguity, and gay people, and yoga pants, and whiskey.

Which brings me to this punch. I've been asked to come up with a cocktail that celebrates the roughly 1,400 holiday shows being produced this season. That's a lot to cover. Here's a partial list:

The Snow Queen
A Very Die Hard Christmas
Fezziwig's Feast
The Chanukah Guest

A Christmas Carol
Amahl and the Night Visitors
'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol
Christmas in the Airwaves
Christmas Cone of Silence starring Miss Richfield 1981
The Santaland Diaries
Miracle on 34th Street - the Musical
A Charlie Brown Christmas
A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol
Black Nativity
The Holidamned
A Christmas Story
Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol
A Midwinter Night's Revel
An Evening with Krampus
Elf, the Musical Jr.
Shade's Brigade Christmas Special

What's needed is something traditional, but contemporary. Old fashioned, but surprising. Sweet, but with a sour kick.

I want you to make a punch. And I want you to share it with your friends while listening to music. How about that Adele? Terrorists probably hate her, too.

So you're going to mix all the ingredients except the sparkling wine in a big bowl and let it sit for a day or two.

A couple notes. The superfine sugar is not extra tasty or good-looking. It just dissolves more easily. You can buy superfine sugar, but you can make it by whirring regular granulated sugar in your food processor for thirty seconds.

And if you want to get the ginger liqueur I think you'll like it. But feel free to substitute a ginger syrup. Simply combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and heat it just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn off the heat and add a bunch of fresh ginger cut into coins and let it steep until cool. Strain and keep in a jar in your fridge for months. It occurs to me that if you want to go even more gingerbready, you could add a cinnamon stick and a few cloves, though that's too bold for me. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

Okay, you've let your punch sit in a cool place for a few days. When you're ready to serve--Wait. I was wrong. Who could hate Adele?

. . .Too many rhetorical questions?

When you're ready to serve, pour it into a punch bowl if it's not already in there. Add a bunch of ice and pour in the sparkling wine.

And serve to a bunch of people you love. Don't be scared. Don't be filled with hate. Try to be good to each other.

I love you all.