How to Make Punch

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.

How to Make Punch

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):

  • Cranberry juice
  • Lemonade
  • Limeade
  • Orange juice
  • Pineapple juice

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):

  • Cranberry-apple juice
  • Pineapple-orange-banana juice blend
  • Pink grapefruit juice
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Raspberry juice blend
  • Strawberry juice blend

3. Choose a Carbonated Beverage

Slowly stir in one 2-liter bottle of desired carbonated beverage from the options below.

  • Carbonated Beverage (pick one):
  • Cream soda
  • Ginger ale
  • Lemon-lime carbonated beverage
  • Orange carbonated beverage
  • Strawberry carbonated beverage

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):

  • Citrus fruit slices
  • Kiwifruit slices
  • Rum, vodka, gin, bourbon, or tequila
  • Sherbet or sorbet
  • Sliced fresh strawberries
  • Fresh raspberries

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.

How to Make an Ice Ring

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.

  • Add a little drama: You can make an ice ring from just the punch, but they are even more attractive when they are made with fruit such as orange, lemon and/or lime slices; cherries; sliced strawberries; raspberries; or blackberries. You can also use edible flowers or mint leaves. Arrange these into the pan.
  • Layer fruits in the pan: Fill mold with about 1 inch punch; freeze until solid. This will hold the add-ins in place and keep them from floating. Fill mold with another inch of punch; freeze until solid. Continue until the mold is as full as you would like it. To unmold, let sit at room temperature about 20 minutes or place mold in hot water for about 1 minute.

Garnishes for Punch

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:

  • Orange, lemon, or lime slices
  • Fruit kabob made of pineapple slices, citrus fruit wedges, maraschino cherries, or strawberries
  • Melon balls or small watermelon slices threaded onto a skewer
  • Pretty ice cubes made by putting a strawberry or cherry in the center and filling trays with white grape juice
  • Paper umbrellas that'll be the hit of the party

Hot Punches

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.

Hot Buttered Cider


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