We were standing in church after service visiting tonight when a friend asked in earshot of Emma if we had any traditions for Thanksgiving as a family. Emma piped right up and said “In my family, we have this thing we do. We get up and have mocha punch in the morning.”I have been drinking mocha punch since I was a teenager and my mom discovered the recipe from a friend and made it for our family. This was pre-Starbucks, people when a delicious, creamy coffee punch was absolute heaven. Mom started making it for holidays. When I left home and began a family I craved that delicious treat so I began making it too. Of course, when the boys were little they didn’t even like it. I’d make this whole punch bowl full and drink most of it myself. (this, in large part, explains why I always gained weight during the holidays)
As they got bigger, my holiday menu’s varied year to year, but mocha punch was always part of the feast. Recently one of the boys was asking why I don’t make it more often as it is his “reason for even liking the holidays” (this is my dramatic child)
and I told him we have to have things to look forward to and count on to create memories. (I believe he rolled his eyes)
But it’s true. As a family of teenagers and a big kid, I see so clearly how those little family traditions bring us all together. The kids can giddily anticipate the twice a year arrival of Mocha Punch. They can complain together when it runs out. They love to talk about it to friends as the thing “we love” that mom fixes. I really didn’t know when I started making it, it would become a ritual we couldn’t live without. That’s the thing about creating traditions- you have to be open to discovering which traditions fit your family. Pinterest is full of wonderful and clever ideas- but you just have no way of knowing which ones your family will end up insisting upon year after year.
So, in honor of my sweet family, I am posting my Mocha Punch recipe for you. Happy Thanksgiving Week!
2 cups boiling water, mixed with 1 1/4 cups sugar
2 oz. instant coffee
1 gallon 2 % milk
1/2 gallon vanilla bean ice cream
4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Combine sugar water and instant coffee. Place in a container with lid overnight in the fridge.
In the morning, in a big punch bowl, pour coffee syrup, milk and vanilla. Scoop ice cream into bowl and allow to dissolve slightly before serving.
Makes 1 punch bowl, serves 20. (Or in my case- a family of 5.)