Punch me!
July 17, 2017 7:24 AM   Subscribe

I was drafted to make some punch for a friend's baby shower in a few weeks. Apparently, pregnant friend told organizer that I make good punch... I don't think I've ever made punch in my entire life. So here we are. What I would like is a punch base that guests could add either ginger ale/seltzer OR champagne to. (Optional booze is enthusiastically approved of by organizers). Internet searches are not giving me what I want. Do you have any good recipes for this set-up?

If not that, maybe a good standard non-alcoholic punch that people can spike themselves, with vodka, rum, tequila, ?? ? Something not excessively sweet would be doubly-awesome. No other restrictions.

posted by Fig to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
My coworker friend has spoken before of her love for punch, so I asked her. (Copied below roughly from a Monday morning IM, that's how dedicated she is.) I've tried one of these.

Pink Panty Droppers
Frozen Pink Lemonade made with
1/2 the water and half vodka, as instructed on the can,
and crappy light beer.
SO TASTY and foamy

Purple Punch
Grape koolaid- prepared with vodka as recommended,
Sherbert of your choice (I go with berry)
and Ginger ale
(can be made without booze for fun baby showers etc)
the ginger ale and Sherbet is REALLY tasty and makes a fun foam on top, I wouldn't sub that for champagne, but you could have like, a spiked one and a non

[The purple punch is the one I've tasted, and it tastes a bit like Dimetapp but in a good way? ]
posted by phunniemee at 7:44 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]

I use a can of cranberry juice, a can of orange juice and carbonated water. By cans, I mean frozen concentrate.
posted by Ftsqg at 7:45 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]

This sherbet party punch has great reviews. I've made something similar without the fruit punch. I think it would go really well spiked with alcohol. I love sherbet punch, though, so I may be biased.
posted by bologna on wry at 7:47 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]

I like punches with a story so Fish House Punch is my goto. It's not too sweet if you up the tea ratio.
posted by jessamyn at 7:51 AM on July 17

I came to suggest sherbet punch, too! Rainbow sherbet, in particular; it's so colorful and pretty.

This recipe with pineapple juice looks similar to one I've enjoyed both spikes and unspiked. I haven't had it with champagne, but I assume you would just substitute it for the same amount of Sprite.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:00 AM on July 17

So all these recipes look great, but nobody has really addressed your booze/non-booze issue specifically.

I'd probably start with one based off of frozen juice cans, and then just not add the champagne or liquor. This will be very tasty, but sort of annoying: guests will have to mix in something no matter what, and the "punch" will be sort of thick, more of a punch concentrate. That would all be fine by me but YMMV.

On the other hand, if you make a totally normal non-alcoholic punch, it will still taste good if you add some vodka/rum/champagne to your cup. There's a tiny downside that the flavor profile will be a bit off compared to a punch with integrated booze, but if I'm daytime drinking at a baby shower, I'm not gonna mind that, I'd mostly just be happy the booze is there at all. Those are the main two options as I see it, good luck!
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:05 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]

You could also do two punch bowls - one alcoholic (with whatever mixer you like) and one not, so long as they are both clearly labelled.
posted by Caz721 at 8:09 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]

Second equal parts orange and cranberry. We use 7-up (or diet) for the fizz.

This could support the adding rum/vodka or could leave the 7up out and let people pour over with their fizz of choice.
posted by MandaSayGrr at 8:17 AM on July 17

The Kitchn's Bright and Bitter is now standard at my monthly brunches; it's great on its own or mixed with seltzer/soda/champange/spirits. It's not sweet (the simple syrup takes a little edge off the unsweetened cranberry juice, but doesn't make it sweet) and the mix of juices and bitters make it more interesting than most punches I've had.
posted by punchtothehead at 8:23 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]

We just had this Sunset Punch at a birthday party. I think it would adapt to champagne/sparkling wine well, and it would also go with run or vodka.
posted by cabingirl at 8:30 AM on July 17

1 part orange juice + 2 parts pineapple juice + 1 part fizzy liquid (champagne, ginger ale, or Sprite work well) + fruited ice ring. It's halfway between Cactus Cooler and a mimosa!

Use frozen concentrated juice and make it with two-thirds of the water requested by the recipe. The ice will melt and the fizzy liquid will dilute the taste otherwise.

Fruited ice ring: drain and empty several cans of mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, and pineapple chunks into a ring mold, fill the rest of the space with water, freeze. Silicone molds are easier to un-mold. A pie pan or cake mold also works if you don't have a ring mold. It's better if it's not a detailed mold. PAM or similar will help it un-mold.

Serve the juice punch in a bowl with the ice ring, serve the fizzy liquids in their bottles in ice buckets. People can choose for themselves what fizzy liquid they prefer, if any. The ice ring is decorative but the fruit it gradually releases is also delicious.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:37 AM on July 17

Put a brick of frozen strawberries in whatever you make to keep it cold.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:40 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]

Sherbet + 7Up = punch. Can't get much easier than that, and it's delicious.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:11 AM on July 17

I've had Pink Panty-Dropper Punch before, and it's tasty, but hangover fuel for sure. It's definitely designed for college pool parties.
posted by radioamy at 9:58 AM on July 17

My friend is famous for her basil 'n jalapeno lemonade. It isn't too sweet, the basil adds a freshness and the jalapeno gives it just enough kick that you want to go back for seconds (or thirds, no judgment). She uses fresh squeezed lemons and I think that just adds to the yumminess.

I spiked my glasses with vodka, but my more adventurous friends added bourbon, gin and rum. The flavors work well with any booze, and my only caution would be that it goes down so easily.

I can't link from my phone, but google is your friend.
posted by AnneBoleyn at 12:04 PM on July 17

I collect old cookbooks; I can help with this! Books from the 1950s and 1960s seem to be most fruitful (sorry) for this category, so I'm not surprised the internet is not succeeding. I don't have a particular recipe to endorse, but here are 20 images to browse, photographs of pages from nine books in my collection. I hope you'll find something that appeals, or get a sense of how you might combine some of the ideas you like best. Your "not too sweet" might line up well with using strong tea in the base, which is not uncommon in recipes I've seen over the years.

I think punch is overdue for a revival. It seems only natural after the craft cocktail movement.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:16 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]

If you can find it, Vernor's makes all punch great. You can put in anything else, and people will love it. Vernor's with grape juice or orange juice, fruits, really anything.
posted by chocolatetiara at 3:57 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]

The last time i was at a party where there were Pink Panty Droppers, most people vomited and/or blacked out. ymmv.
posted by Amanda B at 6:30 PM on July 17

OMG they still make Vernor's?!? :D
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:17 PM on July 17

Get or borrow a ring mold. A bundt cake pan works well. Fill with water & sliced lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries, pineapple chinks. Make several. Pretty and keeps punch cold. The Sunset and Bright & Bitter both sound terrific. Do provide water and extra ice cubes for people who are thirsty, and all that sugar will be fueling thirst.
posted by theora55 at 6:04 AM on July 18

These are all great (and will be used at some point or another). I'm going to go with the Rosy Lemonade punch (basically raspberry lemonade w/bubbles added), and have a bottle of vodka to spike it with, as needed. Thanks!
posted by Fig at 10:02 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]

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