Punch is Making a Comeback and We Don’t Hate It

By: Julie Hines

Food Network Kitchen’s Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum Punch.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Punch is back. And we’re not talking the ubiquitous red drink of unknown origins from classic 80’s movie high school prom scenes that someone inevitably gets pushed into. Totally customizable to your palate and party-type, punch is a crowd pleaser from summer cookouts to black-tie events.

The big-batch drink we know today is a descendant of a Hindi drink made of five ingredients – tea, liquor, water, sugar and lemon – which was popularized during the British empire’s rule in India. Mariners loved the stuff for all of the obvious reasons but also, thanks to a dose of citrus, punch’s ability to ward off scurvy during long trips at sea.

And while punch has seen waves of popularity since then, it has been a staple of all types of events and parties for good reason.

Signature cocktail without the shackles. Setting out a bowl of punch achieves a signature cocktail without having to man the bar cart – guests can serve themselves and you can enjoy the party.

Cut down on costs. A little bit of liquor goes a long way. Have half-empty bottles of spirits from parties past? Plenty of punch recipes call for more than one type, so you’ll be able to use up what you already have on hand in a way the whole crowd can enjoy. Bonus: most guests will be satisfied with the options of beer, wine or punch – there’s no need to stock the bar with tons of other options.

Ditch the ice bucket. Plan ahead and make a large ice cube that does double duty in the punch bowl: it keeps the punch cool throughout the day and looks adorable. Fill your mold – a freezer-friendly baking pan, bowl or Bundt pan all work well here – with ice cubes, fruit garnishes and fruit juice or wine (depending on the type of punch) so it won’t dilute the punch too much as it melts. Layering fruit and ice cubes will prevent all the fruit from falling to the bottom of the mold as it freezes. Use muffin tins stuffed with herbs or fruit garnishes as an ice cube tray that will add flavor and aesthetics to the beverage.

Now that you’re good and thirsty, take a look at some of our favorite punch recipes below.

Get the recipe

Bottle of Rum Punch 00:51

Learn how to make this punch using different fruits and spices.

Rum Punch (pictured above)

At its most basic, rum punch is a mix of orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine and, as the name would suggest, rum. This version kicks things up a notch with homemade spiced rum, which doubles as an excellent hostess gift the next time you go to a party.

This punch is based on the original Hindi drink popularized in the British empire in the 1600s. Sweetened tea gets a kick from Batavia Arrack, a predecessor of rum made from sugar cane and fermented red rice and one of the original spirits to ever be used in punch.

This summery mashup of two classic cocktails – sangria and margaritas – keeps cool throughout your entire party thanks to a massive iceberg of frozen pineapple, lime and pineapple juice that won’t water down the punch as it melts.

Take a trip to the Big Easy without leaving your house. The Hurricane, a classic New Orleans cocktail, varies by the person making it, but the two key flavors are passion fruit and rum.

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

This bright and refreshing punch can be made in advance, minus the seltzer which should be added right before serving.

This classic cocktails gets its name from the combination of several liquors and cola which turns a similar color as brewed tea. Made here in punch form, the addition of grapefruit and fresh mint put an adult twist on this party favorite.

Get the recipe

Watermelon Punch Keg 01:00

Tap into the possibilities of the watermelon as a summertime cocktail vessel.

The ultimate party hack: punch a tap into a whole watermelon and watch guests go crazy for this potent punch made of watermelon puree, rose wine and orange-flavored vodka.

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