Punch it Up!
Summer is a time for celebration—weddings, graduations, births, and showers galore. There is always an occasion to celebrate.
Punch is a versatile addition to any party table. It can be simple and inconspicuous or it can draw your guests’ attention. There are a vast number of recipes available, so you can always find the perfect one to fit your special occasion.
If you’re adventurous, and you have the time, you can experiment with various ingredients to come up with your own recipe.
Punch recipes travel from party to party. I have many that I’ve collected from friends and family, who in turn got them from other friends and family.
A basic fruit punch is like your little black dress. Simple, understated, and perfect for any occasion.
1 quart pineapple juice, chilled
1 quart orange juice, chilled
1 and a half quarts cranberry cocktail juice, chilled
2 liters ginger ale, chilled
Sliced fruits as desired (such as strawberries, kiwi, star fruit, or pineapple slices)
Directions: In a large punch bowl combine pineapple, orange, cranberry juices, and ginger ale. Stir in fruit slices. Add ice or ice ring. Serve chilled.
Pink Lemonade Champagne Punch
Perfect for a bridal shower or ladies luncheons, this pink lemonade champagne punch is a festive, bubbly favorite.
2 cans frozen pink lemonade concentrate
1 bottle champagne
Directions: In a large punch bowl, combine pink lemonade concentrate and champagne. Stir to combine and dissolve frozen lemonade. Add sliced strawberries, peaches, mangoes, and kiwi to punch bowl. Ladle into glasses and serve.
A Punch of a Different Color (Green Punch)
Sometimes, you need something a bit different to go with your party theme. A punch of a different color is a green punch that a friend of mine created for a bridal shower. She knew she wanted a green punch, so she experimented by adding different fruit juices to lime kool-aid. The result was a very green, light-tasting punch that definitely makes you look twice when you see it.
2 packages lime Kool-aid
1 large can pineapple juice (46 oz. can)
1-2 2-liters of lemon-lime soda (or ginger ale)
Directions: Make Kool-aid according to directions. Add pineapple juice. Add soda to taste. Keep remaining soda to add as necessary.
Hot Cider Rum Punch
In those early spring days, when the weather is still cool, a warm punch is just the trick to keep your party cozy. An old-fashioned Wassail, like this Hot Cider Rum Punch, is just the thing to warm your guests.
1 cup rum
1 gallon apple juice
2 quarts cranberry juice cocktail
half a cup orange juice
half a cup sugar
12-inch cinnamon stick, broken in pieces
4 medium-sized peeled oranges
Directions: Combine rum, apple juice, cranberry juice, orange juice, and sugar in a large pot. Make a spice bag that contains the cinnamon stick pieces, and 40 or so whole cloves. Put the spice bag into the pot. Embed several cloves into the surface of each peeled orange. Add the oranges to the pot. Simmer the ingredients for at least 10 minutes. (You can simmer it for up to an hour if you choose to.) Remove the spice bag and oranges. Serve hot.
Garnishing Your Punch
Garnishing your punch gives it the wow factor that is sure to dazzle. Adding sliced fruit is a simple and taste enhancing way to dress up a punch, and the majority of recipes will include sliced fruits. Ice rings are another simple way to garnish your punch.
Ice rings are an easy thing to make using a Jell-o mold. Fill the mold half full of water. Add fruit such as cherries or sliced pineapple, lemons, limes, oranges, or kiwi. Small whole strawberries look nice too. Place the mold so it doesn’t tilt in your freezer. After the mold has frozen, fill remaining half with water and add more fruit. Freeze the mold again. Note: if using canned cherries, and you don’t want your water to be colored by the cherry juice, run them under water until the water runs clear. One alternative (that kids love)—Instead of adding fruit to the ice ring use gummy worms or other gummy shapes.
If you don’t have a Jell-o mold, you can use regular ice trays or containers in a shape of your choice to make the ice.