We’re going to talk about Reindeer Antlers and how I created Reindeer Antlers punch today but first, we need to talk about Crab Claws.
The Back Story on How I Created Reindeer Antlers Punch
Well, no, not always. We have a Southern drink around here called Crab Claws.
It’s one of those pretty punch drinks that the waterfront crab houses like to serve. You know the house specialties that often come in a souvenir glass.
This drink has other names or variations like Peeler or Backrub, but Crab Claws are actually the best tasting in our area and have the most fun and creative name in my opinion. I mean who doesn’t want to say, “I’ll have a Crab Claw, please.”
The unindoctrinated always look on in surprise when one is handed a lovely tropical summer drink versus the pincher of a steamed crustacean. Crab Claws are an adult drink (i.e., they contain alcohol) and they are particularly welcome in the hot summertime.
Crab Claws always taste delicious and go down smoothly, very smoothly—some might say too smoothly.
A limit of one Crab Claw (imbibed with food and with the proper passage of time before driving), a designated driver, or a night in the guest room is a hard and fast rule here at the gfe house when one is drinking Crab Claws. (My dear friend, Tavie, created the original Crab Claws recipe, which I have happily used for many years.)
By now you’re asking what the heck do Crab Claws and Reindeer Antlers have to do with each other? Bear with me as I seemingly go on another tangent.
I’ve shared tales of our biennial Valentine’s Day parties before. These parties are always a blast. Interestingly enough, while attendees have a grand time each and every year, some years folks seem to be particularly frisky and romantic. Mr. GFE always jokes the morning after such parties, “I want to know who put ground-up reindeer antlers in the punch this year!”
Those of us who are sitting at the breakfast table always chuckle appreciatively. You see reindeer antlers supposedly contain an aphrodisiac. While reindeer antler powder has never made its way into our drinks (well, as far as I know anyway), he’s right … some Valentine’s Day parties have even the conservative, usually more standoffish, couples turning into downright “lovebirds.”
I’ve been thinking about Crab Claws a lot lately. Maybe it’s the fact that we are about a month away from a vacation in Key West (yippee!). But, I’m not about to make a batch of Crab Claws in November here in Virginia, so I had to come up with a suitable holiday alternative.
I wanted a drink that was deep red in color (versus the appropriate bright orange hue of crab claws). It occurred to me that adapting the recipe and adding POM Wonderful juice might do the trick—plus the POM Wonderful juice would provide its naturally sweet and tart flavor, with the added bonus of the antioxidants it contains.
So, I’ve reinvented the Crab Claws recipe to include pomegranate juice for its deep “holiday red” color, tart taste, and any potential health benefits. November is National Pomegranate Month. Therefore, the inclusion of pomegranate juice is timely in that regard as well.
Oh, and I already “field-tested” this recipe for you. You’re welcome.
I served it to my family members at Thanksgiving and, without exception, they all (ages 21 through 80) absolutely loved it. Some joked and referred to it as Reindeer Hooves or called it “that antler drink,” but everyone agreed that this punch is superb.
They also had no idea it contained alcohol from their initial tastes. It simply tastes like a delightful, festive punch. Without further ado, Reindeer Antlers—the holiday punch.
The pomegranate seeds, which are called arils, make a festive topping and even a crunchy and tasty ending after your drink is finished but adding them is completely optional.
Reindeer Antlers Punch Recipe
- 1 cup POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
- 1 cup grenadine syrup or grenadine liqueur
- 3 cups orange juice
- 3 cups pineapple juice
- 1 cup vodka
- 1 cup rum
- 1 cup tequila
- Stir all together. I added my ingredients to a gallon-sized jar, placed the lid on it, and just shook the jar to mix.
- Serve over ice and top with pomegranate seeds (also known as arils) if you like.
Pouring the Reindeer Antlers over crushed ice and topping with arils provides a lovely presentation. (Mr. GFE will also tell you that particular application results in sipping versus drinking, which I say just might not be a bad thing.) As an alternative you can sprinkle arils on your Reindeer Antler just before serving; the arils will sink to the bottom of your drink and become more potent. Or, you can add festive ice cubes that contain pomegranate seeds that you’ve made earlier.
Very important---one must eat the arils to achieve the optimum “effects” of the Reindeer Antlers or so "they" say. So Reindeer Antlers taste delicious and are good for your love life. Perhaps. Plus, you know how some folks eat the agave worm at the bottom of a Mescal bottle? Eating the reindeer antler-infused arils is such a nicer alternative, don’t you think?
Of course, if pomegranates themselves are out of season, please enjoy your Reindeer Antlers sans arils--they will still be splendid!
Shirley’s Notes: All distilled alcohol is gluten free. That means your basic vodka, rum, tequila, scotch, gin, and the like. Be wary of alcohol that has been flavored after the distillation process. It still may be gluten free, but always check. You also may need to be wary of small distilleries where proper processes are not in place to ensure there is no cross contact with grains after distillation.
“Real” grenadine syrup or liqueur is actually made from pomegranates. (I don’t know if any of the grenadine products that I’ve used to date have contained pomegranates.) I’ve used both the syrup and the liqueur, interchangeably. The liqueur contains alcohol (2.5% per the label of the Jacquin’s Grenadine that I used).
This recipe will also be linked to Diane’s Friday Foodie Fix—Pomegranates (which she did so well a while back, sharing the history and health benefits of pomegranates) and Linda’s What can I eat that’s gluten free? for her party food on Wednesday, and, frankly, any other terrific blog carnivals that come to mind. Reindeer Antlers is awesome “holiday cheer” (some would say it’s addictive, too) and needs to be shared!
Enjoy and drink responsibly! As for me, I’m staying home today and this evening. It’s cocktail time … hand me a Reindeer Antler, please!
Full disclosure: I attended the POM Wonderful Blogger Harvest Festival in California—all expenses paid—years ago. I was not paid to write this post, but the POM Wonderful products used were given to me.
Originally published November 27, 2009; updated November 12, 2021.