Tomato and Pepper-Vodka Punch
Serves eight to twelve.
4 celery stalks with the leaves
5 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons white-wine Worcestershire sauce
1 750-ml. bottle pepper vodka
Garnish: 1 pint tiny cherry tomatoes (if tomatoes are large, cut them in half)
Remove the leaves from the celery. Chop the leaves coarsely, setting them aside, and cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Put the tomatoes, celery stalks, garlic, salt, sugar, and white-wine Worcestershire sauce in a blender, and process until all the ingredients are liquefied. Transfer to a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and strain the tomato liquid. Discard the vegetable solids and chill the reserved tomato water in a covered jug.
Set the pepper vodka in the freezer to chill. Fill an ice-cube tray with some of the tomato water and place in the freezer. When the cubes begin to freeze around the edges but are still liquid in the middle, place a few of the chopped celery leaves in the center of each to garnish. Continue to freeze until solid.
Mix one part chilled pepper vodka and two parts tomato water in a punch bowl (proportions may be adjusted to taste). Just before serving, add the ice cubes and cherry tomatoes and mix. Vodka may be served on the side so guests can adjust the mixture, especially as the evening progresses and the melting ice dilutes the punch.