This Punch Recipes Guide is intended to give you the basic guidelines by which to make punches. This will enable you to experiment and improvise with different ingredients and flavors to come up with weird and wonderful concoctions for your guests.
“Punch” comes from a Hindi word meaning “five”. The original punch had five ingredients and often punches have around four or five ingredients.
Punches are typically made for parties and events where there are many people. So firstly, let’s consider how much punch you need to make. This depends very much on how many other drinks there are available and if guests are bringing their own or not. Consider that guest should on average consume about 2 drinks the first hour and about 1 every hour thereafter. A drink is around 300 ml / 12 Oz. So, if you are:
Ø expecting 20 guests and
Ø the party or event to continue for 5 hours
Ø the punch is the only drink available
… you need about 300 ml (12 Oz.) * 20 * (2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1) = 36 litre / 9 gallons
To make the punch in, you need a punch bowl. If you don’t have one, see if you can borrow or buy a real purpose made punch bowl. Alternatively you can make the punch in a pitcher. Avoid metal containers to make the punch in as the metal might affect the taste.
You are of course not limited to serving it in a bowl. Cocktail Mixing Master have attended parties where the punch ran out of the taps! You will of course need some fancy plumbing for this, but it’s not rocket science. If you do attempt it, make sure to flush the water pipes thoroughly first.
MAKING THE PUNCH
Vodka is a very popular base ingredient for alcoholic punches punches because it has a neutral taste and color. You can therefore very easily make a non-alcoholic version by omitting the vodka. You might want to have a non-alcoholic version available for children, drivers, pregnant ladies and non-drinkers.
You also need to decide if you want to make a cold or hot punch. This is generally dependent on the season – cold for summer and hot for winter. In summer, it is important to keep the punch cold – use large blocks of ice instead of small ones, as it does not dissolve so fast and dilutes your punch. Keep extra ingredients to add if required. Do not add too much water upfront as the ice will dilute the punch anyway.
Punch recipes sometimes call for pieces of fruit to be added. Whether or not you want to add fruit is very much a matter of personal taste. Many people do not like fruit in their drinks and other will be surprised if your punch does not contain it. A safe alternative is to serve the fruit separately in a bowl next to the punch so people can add fruit to taste. What is nice about putting fruit in the punch upfront is that it pulls into the fruit, which makes for a nice snack remaining in your glass.
Many punch recipes require fizzy (carbonated) ingredients like soda or sparkling water. Usually add the fizzy (carbonated) ingredients last just before servingand do not stir excessively, in order to retain as much bubbles as possible.
While you make the punch, taste it and decide if it needs more of something, for example sugar to make it sweeter.
Tip: use sugar syrup instead of sugar as sugar is difficult to dissolve in cold liquids. Make the sugar syrup on the stove-top by boiling the water and dissolving the sugar in it. Use equal parts water and sugar for this.
You can easily scale up your favorite cocktail. For example, you can make a large amount of Sex on the beach (vodka, peach schnapps, orange and cranberry juice). In fact, mix vodka and any juice or combination of juices with and adding a bit of lemonade or sparkling water or soda water and you have a basic punch.
Avoid combining too many overwhelming tastes in a punch or adding too much of one. For example, a large amount of grapefruit juice is not advisable.
The recipes below should give you a general idea how to make a punch. As always, we encourage you to experiment by combining different ingredients.
Let’s look at some examples of party punch recipes:
Ingredients: 2 parts cranberry juice
1.5 parts vodka (optional)
1 part pineapple juice
1 part apple juice
1 part grapefruit juice
1 part lemonade
2 parts sparkling or soda water
Preparation: Mix the juice (and vodka) in a punch bowl. Add the lemonade and water just before serving and stir gently.
OLD FASHIONED FRUIT PUNCH
12 parts ginger ale
3 parts vodka (optional) 1 part cranberry juice
1 part lemonade
1 orange, quartered
Preparation: Put the juices (vodka) and orange in a punch bowl. Mix and let the juices blend for about 1/2 hour. Add the ginger ale and ice a few minutes before serving.
7up or Sprite
sherbert ice cream Vodka
Preparation: Pour the 7up into the bowl. Add a few scoops of the ice cream. Then add vodka to taste and mix the ingredients.
1 part brandy
5 parts red wine
6 parts lemonade
4 parts orange juice or sparkling water
Preparation: Slice the oranges and lemons in quarters, put it in the bowl and add the brandy. Add the wine and leave the mix in the fridge for 4 to 5 hours to infuse. Slice the apples and add it. Then add the lemonade and orange juice/water.
There are many variations on this, for example adding a bit of triple sec or sugar syrup to sweeten it.
12 parts wine cooler(Your favourite wine cooler flavour) 1 part light rum
1 part gin
1 part vodka
Preparation: Combine the ingredients in a bowl and let it stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Remember that punches, like cocktails, have a tendency to creep up on you. So, bear this in mind when adding the alcoholic ingredients and when enjoying your punch. For further info on party drinksclick here.
Do you have a favorite punch recipe you want to share with us? Please complete the form below.