Grilled Pineapple–Tequila Punch
Although there have been sweltering exceptions, the end of October usually signals a break in the Texas heat. For me, that means the season of campfires, cashmere, knee-high boots, and Halloween has officially arrived. As luck would have it, our neighborhood in Austin hosts a parade that starts a few blocks from our house. Like our swelling city, the parade has grown over the last few years, resulting in an increasing number of superheroes, mermaids, and parents pulling wagons of witches and bumblebees who stop at our door. And while I love to whip up spooky snacks for the kids (like a skeleton-shaped crudité or various treats spiked with gummy worms), I love including the adults in the fun.The parade starts early, and it’s always a scramble to get kids home from school and into costumes. Our location makes us a natural home base for last-minute flourishes and pre-parade happy hour. Friends arrive with kids already jacked up on candy from school parties, and attempt to add face paint, adjust wigs, and dole out swords and magic wands. To help diffuse the anxiety of these harried parents, I like to whip up a special adults-only punch that takes a cue from palomas—the margarita’s more refreshing cousin.In this Grilled Pineapple–Tequila Punch, the sweet and smoky notes of grilled pineapple meld deliciously with tequila, Ancho Reyes Verde (a spicy, crisp poblano liqueur), and splashes of pineapple and lime juices to create a punch that’s the perfect Halloween equalizer. You can make this recipe as easy as you like, and use store-bought pineapple juice if you want to skip the grill. If you do, I like to avoid canned pineapple juice and seek out cold-pressed juice (and, of course, I still use freshly squeezed limes). Mint sprigs complement the fruit and green vegetal notes of the chile, adding that extra level of festive fragrance. And if you happen to have a heat wave, you can even freeze slices of jalapeño in ice cubes to keep the punch nice and cool. But let’s cross our fingers and hope for a lovely cold snap, shall we?