Remember those old copper molds that used to hang on your grandmother's wall? If you are lucky enough to have one, grab it and fill it and freeze it! If not, an old bundt pan or even a pyrex bowl will do the trick. I'm not a fan of the sherbet infused punch drinks--they are too cloying for me. I love this because it can be easily spiked, but it is enjoyed year round--refreshing in the summer and appealing in the winter.
Feel free to use the "lite" or "diet" versions as you will be adding a cup of sugar (or splenda) and ginger ale (which can also be diet, if you prefer). I know some avoid the splenda/fake sugar products, but I try to keep the sugar down in the drinks and I don't mind the aftertaste that others' object to having.
Take a look at InPats Kitchen's recipe for homemade ginger ale which would make an excellent base for this punch. It is really versatile for both the warm and cold seasons! —lorigoldsby
Freeze ice ring a day or 2 days ahead of time. If you forget, or have to do this at the last minute, don't worry....make a "cran-raspberry slushie" with the extra cocktail mix, some ice and just 5-6 pink peppercorns. Make it as concentrated as possible, enough ice to chill the batch without watering down the bowl as it melts. You may want to skip the whole cranberries and just float the orange slices and raspberries on top.
Mix the sugar(sweetner) with the cran-raspberry cocktail and stir well to dissolve. Add the almond extract.
Add the ginger ale (see how to make your own from this summer's contest) and float the ice ring on top. Can garnish cups with orange slice and/or raspberry. for a Christmas touch, use a rosemarry sprig with a cranberry poked through the end.
I learned to cook with my Gran. I can still see her reading a recipe and figuring out how she would make it better. She was fearless about substituting ingredients--but also knowledgeable. She approached food in the same way she built her antique business--appreciate quality ingredients and workmanship, but don't be a snob. I think I carry those same beliefs in my approach to cooking. I love family style dinners, I love a fancy ladies' luncheon with my wedding china, or a backyard seafood boil to celebrate my husband's birthday...I love to share food with others.