Serves six to eight.
2 cups sugar
12 pieces whole star anise (optional)
2 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
2 bottles sparkling wine
1 cup Pedro Ximénez sherry (available at Union Square Wines, 33 Union Square West)
In a nonreactive saucepan,
mix 3 cups water, the sugar, and 2 pieces of star anise. Boil the mixture
for about 2 to 5 minutes to form a thick syrup. While it boils, peel the
grapefruit, keeping the rind in larger pieces, such as quarters, and leaving
the white pith on the rind.
Blanch the rind in boiling water for 30 seconds, shock in cold water,
and repeat twice, to remove the bitterness. Add the blanched rinds to
the syrup mixture, and simmer over low heat for up to 3 hours or until
the rinds are consistent in color and the syrup has turned golden. The
rinds should be tender and easily pierced and should have a sweet-and-tart
Julienne all the candied grapefruit,
reserving about a quarter to garnish the champagne glasses, and place
the remaining candied grapefruit and the syrup in the punch bowl.
Pour in the grapefruit juice, the sparkling wine, and the sherry. Stir
gently until mixed. (If you like it sweeter, add more sherry to taste.)
Top with remaining star anise. Place several strips of the grapefruit
rind in the bottom of champagne glasses and top with punch.