Ring in the new year with an age-old elixir that is revamped and glammed up for today’s tastes. “Punch up” your holiday celebrations with a new take on old spirits. What is punch anyway? The word punch means five in Hindi as the drink originally contained five ingredients: arrack, sugar, lemon, water and tea or spices. British sailors, during the 17th Century, brought the name and the drink to England which spread throughout Europe. During that time, many punches were made with a wine and brandy base but when rum was manufactured in Jamaica, it became the standard ingredient. However, with our craft cocktail culture, punch recipes are limitless. Don’t think that you have to use all five combos of sweet, sour, water, spice and alcohol. I’ve got some special recipes to showcase this versatile drink. Punch is such an easy entertaining idea; no cocktail shakers and no overflowing bar cart. A punch bowl and ladle are traditional but even a big bowl works or choose from a myriad of drink dispensers to make punch the star of your party as a great conversation gathering spot. Throw a punch party with some of these “nouveau” punches. Go all out and have bunch of “bowls” to dip into as we begin a fresh new year. You might as well celebrate in style.
Choose any of these delicious and potent punches to make a big splash as we dive into 2017! Feel free to double or triple any of these recipes, depending on the crowd.
Pomegranate and Orange Champagne Punch
1 cup pomegranate seeds (arils), separated
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
4 cups pomegranate juice
3 cups orange juice
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
2 bottles (750 ml) Champagne, Prosecco or sparkling white wine
1-2 oranges sliced
Make the ice cubes by placing 1-2 mint leaves in each place of an ice cube tray.
Add 1/4 cup of the pomegranate seeds with the mint leaves.
Fill with water and freeze at least 4 hours until firm.
Mix the pomegranate juice, orange liquor and orange juice in a large bowl. Add the ice cubes and the champagne or sparkling wine. Add the slices of orange and the remainder of the pomegranate seeds. Garnish with extra mint if desired.
Serves a crowd.
Winter White Margarita Punch
10 ounces silver tequila
8 ounces Grand Marnier
8 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice (the secret to perfect Margaritas)
8 ounces coconut water
8 ounces coconut cream
6 ounces coconut rum
6 ounces simple syrup
1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
Fresh cranberries for garnish
Mix all ingredients together well. Use an extra-large bowl to whisk all the ingredients well before placing in punch bowl.
For a large crowd, double or triple the recipe for a large punch bowl.
Add the simple syrup to your desired level of sweetness.
Garnish with fresh cranberries.
1 gallon vanilla bean ice cream
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 gallon premium eggnog
1-2 cups bourbon (or omit for an alcohol free drink)
1 teaspoon real vanilla
16 ounces freshly whipped heavy cream
Scoop very firm ice cream into punch bowl.
Mix eggnog and vanilla.
Pour over the ice cream.
Sprinkle freshly ground nutmeg over the top.
Place dollops of whipped cream on the eggnog mix.
The ice cream will melt gradually and keep the eggnog punch cold, but serve immediately.
Makes about 1-2 gallons, or a little more depending on how much bourbon is used.
Blood Orange Sangria Punch
12 Blood oranges
4 (750ML) bottles of Pinot Grigio
2 cups of club soda
1 cup brandy
2-3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 pints of fresh raspberries
2 apples, finely chopped
1 cup sugar for garnish
Zest two of the blood oranges and combine with the sugar for garnishing the punch bowl.
Rub together the zest and the sugar with fingers until fragrant. Reserve.
Juice 8 of the oranges, removing any seeds or white pith.
Chop the remaining oranges into small pieces.
In a large container, combine the wine, brandy, blood orange juice, apples, strawberries, raspberries and blood orange pieces.
Stir to combine well and chill to develop the flavor.
When ready to serve, add the cold club soda.
Pour into a big bowl that has been garnished around the rim with the orange zest and sugar mixture.
Citrus Whiskey Punch
1 cup fresh orange juice
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1 3/4 cup whiskey
9 dashes of aromatic bitters
1/4 cup honey simple syrup (see below recipe)
2 cups of champagne or sparkling white wine
In a punch bowl, combine all the juices, whiskey, bitters and simple syrup.
Add extra-large ice cubes or large ice block and stir well.
Top with cold champagne.
Honey Citrus Simple Syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water.
Zest of one orange
Zest of one grapefruit
Bring all ingredients to a simmer over low heat in a saucepan.
Stir to combine and remove when all ingredients are dissolved.
Strain any solids from syrup.
Store in fridge until cool or up to a day.
I hope I have piqued your interest in punch for the new year. A wide array of punch recipes can be sampled wherever you search for new ideas. Here are a few more “Punch Tips.” Use one big block of ice to keep your special drink from diluting. An empty milk container makes an easy big hunk of ice; bundt pans and blown up balloons filled with water to freeze create unique shapes. Boil your water or use bottled water for a pure punch taste and to keep the punch clear. You can add food coloring or natural dye or fruit juices to the water before freezing the ice block. Adding additional herbs or pieces of fruit to the water before popping into the freezer multiplies the “zing” factor.
Smash into New Year’s Day with a wallop of a punch!