Tart or sweet, cold or hot, punch is the ideal solution for relaxed entertaining. No need to take drink orders -- just make up a batch before the party and serve, giving you time to enjoy your guests.
By knowing the proper proportion of fruit juice, water, and carbonated beverage, as well as other tasty add-in ingredients, you can mix and match to create a variety of stellar designer punches. Here is the basic recipe to make 1 gallon, which is enough for sixteen 8-ounce servings. If you want to add an ice ring, learn how to make one below.
1. Make the Punch Base and Chill
In a large pitcher or bowl combine 4 cups water one 12-ounce can desired frozen juice concentrate from the options below. Add 1 cup sugar and stir until dissolved. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
Frozen Juice Concentrate (pick one):
2. Choose a Juice Blend
Just before serving, pour the chilled juice mixture into a large punch bowl. Stir 2-1/2 cups of desired juice blend from the options below.
Juice Blend (pick one):
3. Choose a Carbonated Beverage
Slowly stir in one 2-liter bottle of desired carbonated beverage from the options below.
4. Choose Desired Optional Stir-Ins
If desired, add an ice ring (see How to Make an Ice Ring) and 1 cup of desired stir-ins from the options below (optional).
Stir-In (pick one or more):
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare punch (through Step 2), except do not add the carbonated beverage or, if using, ice ring and/or stir-in. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Add carbonated beverage, ice ring, and stir-in just before serving.
Not only is it attractive, but an ice ring can keep your beverage cold for an hour or more. You can use a 10-inch tube pan or a fluted cake pan for your mold. Silicone pans work especially well. Make sure the ice ring will fit into your punch bowl. To make sure the ice ring does not dilute the punch as it melts, use extra punch instead of water for the ice ring.
Be sure you have a ladle available for serving punch. Just like a cocktail, punch is even more fun and special for your guests when you have garnishes available on the buffet table. Ideas include:
There's more to punch than the icy-cold versions. During the holiday and in the colder months, there's no warmer greeting than serving guests with a warm drink, such as hot cider hot or hot buttered rum. The same benefits apply here as for cold punch -- you can make a beverage ahead of time. There's the added bonus of wonderful aromas wafting throughout your house. The trick here is to keep the beverage hot. Smart hostesses have discovered the slow cooker works great for this. See below for some hot punch recipes.