People are coming over, or you’re going to a house party. What’s an appropriate libation? Something that doesn’t require precision, can be made in batches, and won’t knock you or your guests on their fannys would be a good start.
Punch to the rescue! Yes, punch. Back in style, thanks to David Wondrich’s lovely book, “Punch”.
Punch, that communal libation, needs a new image. It makes me think of 1950’s high school dances where someone snuck booze into the party. No, I’m not that old, I’ve only watched old movies. Our generation smoked pot. Hence my nostalgia for big crystal bowls with silly matching tea cups hanging on hooks on the rim of the bowl.
When did the idea of putting a delicious Champagne punch in a too small tea cup seem like a good idea?
Time for a make-over!
Here are two festive Bubbly Punch recipes, one a classic and one so modern it’s almost, nearly good for you.
*A note about the Champagne. These recipes date back to a time when Champagne wasn’t so expensive and you couldn’t find good alternatives like Prosecco or Cava. For these recipes, you only need to use a dry, sparkling, white wine. But, we’ll keep calling it a Champagne punch because it sounds so ritzy.
The Ritz Champagne Punch
1 bottle sparkling white wine
1 1/2 cups lemon juice
3/4 cup simple syrup
1/2 cup Maraschino liqueur
1/2 cup Triple Sec
16 oz. Brandy
16 oz. Club Soda
Approx 16 servings.
Mix the lemon juice and simple syrup together and taste. If it is super sour, add more simple syrup until the mix is pleasantly tart.
Combine the lemon juice mixture, Maraschino, Triple Sec Brandy into a chilled pitcher and keep cold.
If you are juicing your own lemons, and of course you are, you may want to save 1 or 2 of the lemon skins to make the garnish. Cut the top and bottom off of the lemon and then core out the flesh of the lemon. Slit the lemon skin open and lay it on a flat cutting surface. Trim off any of the white pith, so you just have the lemon skin. It’s a little tricky, don’t get too crazy with this, just get as much of the white off as possible. Now roll the skin into a tight ball, and secure it with toothpicks. When it comes time to serve the cocktail, thinly slice the skin, and unroll the now-curly strips, placing one end over the edge of the glass and letting the unfurled skin dangle inside the glass.
In a champagne flute, add a small shot of soda water, a small shot of the booze and lemon juice mixture, and top with the sparkling wine.
If you don’t want to fuss at all, at the last possible moment, combine all of the ingredients in a large, chilled punch bowl and let the guests help themselves.
This punch could be called the double whammy: it’s very drinkable but very strong! Be warned.
And now, for our nearly healthy punch!
Midnight in Mumbai
2 bottles of sparkling white wine
4 oz. brandy
4 oz. cointreau
1 bag of frozen cranberries
2 thinly slice oranges
1-2 boxes of raspberries frozen into a block of ice
First, everyone must dress like an extra from a dance scene in a Bollywood movie. It totally sets the mood.
Clean the raspberries and place in a square plastic container. Fill the container with water and freeze.
When it is party time, add all of the ingredients into a large chilled punch bowl, float the raspberry block in the punch and start dancing!