Punch Recipes, Please!
December 22, 2014 1:29 PM   Subscribe

We're throwing a small holiday party for some friends, and we've promised to have at least two kinds of punch -- one with booze, and one without. But we always make the same sorts of punch over and over again, and I'd love some ideas!

As this is for a special occasion, we're more than happy to go out and get weird ingredients as necessary. We live in NYC, so we can find a wide assortment of ingredients on short notice.

Assume that we're adventurous types and up for basically anything.

I'm leaning toward cold punches, since our apartment is very warm, but if you have a really fantastic hot punch recipe we'd love to hear about it!
posted by Narrative Priorities to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Milk punches are a great winter-y option (like this one, Cambridge Milk Punch). I have the book from which that recipe is adapted, it's excellent, totally worth looking into if you want to go punch-crazy.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:37 PM on December 22, 2014

This is a wedding punch that my parents made at their annual Bash. It sounds vile and is delicious.

1 large can/carton Pineapple Juice
Can of frozen lemonade
Box of White Wine
2 bottles of Cooks champagne

Fruit to garnish

The champagne gives it a fun fizz, the fruit juice makes the cheap wine tasty and it's festive. Use a ring mold to make an ice thingy to float in the punch. Throw some wine in it, raspberries, strawberries, orange and lemon slices. Very pretty!

For the non alcoholic punch:

7-Up (or for a less sweet punch, club soda)
Cranberry Juice
Orange or Grapefruit Juice

Feliz Fiesta!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:37 PM on December 22, 2014

The New England Express is my go to fall/winter party punch! It really toes the line between craft cocktail and easy punch for a crowd. I mean it's super easy to make but tastes awesome and the thyme syrup really adds a fantastic flavor. Highly recommend!
posted by sarahnicolesays at 1:43 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Friend of mine made this for a party--it was very-well received:

1/3 cup white sugar
1 quart cranberry juice
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
3 tablespoons almond extract
2 liters ginger ale
posted by box at 1:43 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I made a recipe similar to this Philadelphia Fishhouse Punch (without the peaches and thyme) for my birthday party a couple of years ago. It was dangerously good. There was crying and fighting and it was all quite exciting. I always want to make it again, but no one will let me (I would add more ice to water it down this time).
posted by backwords at 2:22 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

David Wondrich has a great book on punch. But for more immediate help check out his Twitter feed. He has been posting a ton of simple punches for the holiday.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:30 PM on December 22, 2014

Best answer: One of my favorite punch discoveries is Lusty Maritime Punch, which we have made for two completely unrelated parties with two totally non-overlapping crowds, with great success. My preferred way to make it is to juice the lemons early (the night before or first thing in the morning) and combine the lemons, syrup, and ginger puree to produce, essentially, ginger-infused lemonade (for extra credit, you can make an oleo-saccharum with the lemon peels and sugar, then add water, lemon juice, and ginger, and steep that whole mess). Strain your lemon/ginger/peel mixture into your punch bowl, add booze, and then add the soda and ginger beer. The benefit to straining it this way is that nobody has to pick little bits of ginger out of their teeth all night.

I'm also a fan of the Champs-Élysées cocktail as a party opener, given in the Savoy Cocktail Book in a recipe for six:

4 1⁄2 oz Cognac
1 1⁄2 oz [yellow*] Chartreuse
2 1⁄4 oz lemon juice
3⁄4 oz simple syrup
6 dashes Angostura bitters

[Note: the Savoy doesn't actually specify which Chartreuse to use. I prefer this cocktail with yellow Chartreuse (less herbal, less boozy), but some people use green Chartreuse (more wallop all around). If you have green on hand, go ahead and use it unless you're looking for an excuse to buy the yellow.]

Finally, there's always the option of Philadelphia Fish House Punch (recipe from David Wondrich, author of Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl; here's a different one from Ted Haigh, AKA Dr. Cocktail).

If you're into punch (and you should be if you like parties, because punch at parties is awesome), you would be well served by both Wondrich's book and Dan Searing's The Punch Bowl, mentioned in the first comment. And I'm not just saying that because Dan lives and owns a bar in my neighborhood and I'm friends with a number of DC bartenders whose recipes are in his book.
posted by fedward at 2:36 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Lost in editing: if you do the ginger infused lemonade bit I describe, that should sit for at least a few hours, if not overnight. Optimally you want to juice your lemons the morning of so the juice isn't too old, but if you have to prep and hold overnight the punch will still be good.
posted by fedward at 2:39 PM on December 22, 2014

Best answer: Ok so, the Punch book by Wondrich is awesome and so much fun. I've made a large number of punches from it and they're almost all amazing. That said the most special punch I've ever made from it and keep coming back to is the original Chatham Artillery Punch. It's amazing. I used to do an annual party and without fail people would make sure I was making this punch again. It's that delicious.

12 lemons
2 cups light, raw sugar
750-milliliter bottle cognac
750-milliliter bottle bourbon
750-milliliter bottle Jamaica rum
3 750-milliliter bottles Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
5 pound bag cracked ice

Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel the lemons, being careful to remove only the yellow peel and not the bitter white pith.

Place the peels in a bowl, add the sugar and muddle to combine. Set aside for at least half an hour, preferably an hour, to let the flavors combine.

While the lemon peel is resting, juice the lemons to make two cups lemon juice. After the lemon peel has rested, add lemon juice to the bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Strain the mixture into an empty 750mL bottle.

Add water to the bottle to fill, seal it, give it a little shake and refrigerate this shrub until you're ready to make your punch.

To serve, fill your large (2.5 gallon) punch bowl with cracked ice. (At this point, move your punch bowl to its party-time location, as it will be very difficult to move when it's full of punch.)

Pour the shrub and all of the bottles of cognac, bourbon, rum and sparkling wine onto the ice. Stir to combine. Serve.

I took this from the adaptation published by Serious Eats as I didn't feel the need to type it up from scratch. A couple of words on the choices here for the liquor if you do make it.

One: I've enjoyed the one made with Remy more than I have with cheaper cognacs. They're still really good but there was something that I thought went great. I've used both VS and VSOP for it, if you're going with something like Maison Rouge instead of Remy I'd suggest VSOP over VS.

Two: Rum wise I love love love Smith and Cross here and really highly suggest it if you can get it and enjoy those types. It's great on it's own and really shines here. Otherwise I bet something like Pussar's might not be a bad choice but can't vouch for it. You do want an english style though, French might work too but agricoles do taste different. I'd avoid the Spanish style if you do make it.

Three: The recipe above lists cracked ice, I've always loved freezing a big icecube in my bowl 4 days ahead so it's big and takes a while to dissolve. There's no right or wrong here but I think it looks cooler.

Good luck on the party! I think you have great choices here regardless of which punch you choose.
posted by Carillon at 4:13 PM on December 22, 2014 [7 favorites]

A few Christmases ago I made this Captain Radcliffe's Punch , which is based on a 17th century recipe. It was delicious and a fun story.

Saveur also has a bunch of other punch recipes that look promising.
posted by apricot at 4:45 PM on December 22, 2014

I also came to suggest Chatham as Carillon has laid out.
The recipe seems so basic and boozy but the resulting flavor is delicious. The mother of all punches. It is very strong so be careful.
posted by littlewater at 5:12 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you want a punch with a story, look no further than Admiral Russell's Christmas Punch.
Christmas parties aren’t what they used to be. Take the one British Admiral Edward Russell threw in Cádiz in 1694 for the sailors of his fleet and their Spanish hosts: 6,000 guests, 150 dishes (including a whole roast ox), and in the center, a tiled fountain full of punch and a ship’s boy floating in the middle in a little rowboat ladling out the punch.
Wondrich provides extensive history about the Admiral's party (along with conflicting contemporary reports about the ingredient list). We were unable to locate a Playmobil rowboat in stock anywhere when this came up in our own party planning, though.
posted by fedward at 5:38 PM on December 22, 2014

One 1/2 gallon of rainbow sherbet, unwrap and put in punch bowl. Pour over 2 liters of ginger ale (more as needed). You can garnish with lemon and lime wheels if u want to get fancy. This is a southern thing.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:42 PM on December 22, 2014

This dead simple rum punch I got from a former coworker has been a holiday hit for years:

1 part sour (fresh lime juice)
2 parts sweet (raw or demerara sugar)
3 parts strong (dark rum, I like Myers, but Mt Gay is also good)
4 parts weak (water
Optional garnish: nutmeg freshly grated into each cup (adding to the punch bowl will unfortunately just result in a bunch of nutmeg dregs in the bottom of the bowl)

Working from a 750 ml bottle of rum, the proportions are roughly:
1 cup lime juice (8-10 limes)
2 cups sugar
1 bottle rum
1 liter water (I'll generally mix water and ice)
posted by EvaDestruction at 6:42 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Chilled Mulled Wine

It's like sangria, but for Christmas.
posted by bunderful at 9:47 PM on December 22, 2014

Mai Tai Punch: (they'll never know what hit 'em) Grab a ring mold, fill it with 1-10 oz. jar maraschino cherries, 1-6 oz. can mandarin orange slices, 1-8 oz. can pineapple chunks. Fill to 1/2 inch below the rim with the punch materials and freeze overnight or till solid.

Place in very large punchbowl FIRST! then add: 2-12 oz. cans frozen orange juice, reconstituted, 1-48 oz. can pineapple/grapefruit juice, 6T. light Karo syrup (or any simple syrup), 2 t. almond extract, 1/2 gal. light rum, 1 pt. dark rum and float across the top orange slices, lemon slices, strawberry slices, etc. Makes 2 large punchbowls worth and is very potent.
posted by Lynsey at 10:49 AM on December 23, 2014

Response by poster: ALL OF THESE ARE SO GREAT! What a fantastic resource for the future!

I marked as best answers the three punches we actually made this evening -- the Lusty Maritime, the Chatham Artillery, and the unnamed non-alcoholic recipe with the extremely well-recieved addition of almond extract. They were all BIG HITS with our friends, and I'm very grateful to all of you!

In conversation about how I'd come across these recipes, I discovered that one of my friends is actually a long-time MeFi user -- as in, her account dates from 2001 -- which lead to a lot of laughter about $5 newbs that basically no one else could follow.

Again, THANK YOU! You all helped to make this an EXCELLENT evening!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:55 PM on December 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

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