Easy Party Punch Recipes

Who knew the world of party punch recipes would be so... stirring?

Punch is the centerpiece of your party. Make it good. On this page you'll find great recipes, (and a trick to making your own punch recipes) practical rules and tips, presentation ideas, and a brief but wild history of punch complete with secrets, controversy, drunken sailors and spirits. No, not that kind.

A Brief History of Punch Recipes

Today's party punch recipes are said to stem from an ancient East Indian recipe of five ingredients, the term punch being derived from panch, the Hindi word for 'five'. The notion is only mildly debated and, sure enough, arrack (mostly fermented palm sap), tea or spices, sugar, water, and lemon, the five ingredients, are found in most punch recipes today.

British sailors of the 1700's were very fond of the concoction. They spread the punch recipe to seaport taverns like bees spread pollen. There, the original punch recipe was tinkered with, of course, and many came to consider themselves 'master punch brewers'. The result was a slew of punch recipes as colorfully named as any English tavern. Dragoon, Bombay, Fish House and Artillery are a few still popular. The famous Fish House Punch recipe is actually credited by some, not to a British pub, but to a fishing and social club in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania here in "the colonies."

New recipe or old, punch is still the perfect party drink, the quick, fun, easy, festive, inexpensive crowd-pleaser it's always been. 

Party Punch Recipes

The 8 Rules of Party Punch

Betcha didn't know punch recipes had rules. Let's call them tips or secrets. It's a party, after all, and you don't want a lot of rules, or even eight simple ones.

  • Mix all ingredients in the order given in the punch recipe; if it sparkles, pour it in last. Champagne, sparkling wine, seltzer water, soda, or anything carbonated goes in after the other ingredients are mixed and just before serving. Stir it sparingly to preserve the sparkle and fizz.
  • Use 'simple syrup' instead of sugar. Sugar, especially granulated sugar, can be hard to dissolve in cold liquids, so don't. Substitute simple syrup, also called sugar syrup: For punch recipes, combine equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and continue cooking for a minute until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Cool, and voila! "Liquid sugar." (1 cup sugar and 1 cup water makes about 1 1/3 cups simple syrup.)
  • Chill all ingredients before mixing (unless you're making a hot punch recipe.) Don't rely on ice to chill the punch after it is mixed; it has an unhappy effect on the recipe. Chill the punch bowl, too, in the refrigerator or with crushed ice.
  • Use the appropriate punch bowl for your party punch recipe. Cold punch recipes can be served in any bowl, but be careful about hot punch. Use a metal bowl or, at the very least, make sure your glass or china bowl is heat-resistant and preheat the bowl with hot water.
  • Use larger blocks of ice or ice molds instead of small ice cubes. Small cubes melt quickly and dilute the punch recipe unnecessarily. Likewise, not just water, but tea, juice or any non-alcoholic ingredient can be frozen in an ice mold. See: Presentation Tips
  • Avoid floating small bits of fruit in the punch bowl. That is common among party punch recipes, but ladling a drink around fruit is really annoying. One guest always gets the knack of it and ends up serving the other guests. Don't embarrass yourself, no matter what the recipe calls for. Or was it your intention all along to snag an attendant?
  • Don't use the good stuff. Okay, don't use the great stuff. When it comes to liquor in punch, and most mixed drinks, go with the less expensive choice. That is very controversial advice, but let's make it a rule. Fine wine and spirits should be savored and appreciated, not diluted with fruit juice. If you simply must put on airs, use the finest fruit juice and club soda money can buy.
  • The ultimate secret: How much punch? Check out the Beverage Calculator for party punch recipes or the large quantity charts for groups of 50 or more.

Presentation Tips for Party Punch Recipes

Your punch bowl is the centerpiece of your party. All eyes are drawn to it. So choose a punch bowl suitable for the occasion be it a classic beauty, ridiculously cute, or exquisite.

The best thing you can do to make your cold party punch recipe attractive in the punch bowl is also the most practical-- float an ice mold . Larger blocks of ice melt more slowly than ice cubes and they’re easier to ladle punch around.   

For hot party punch recipes float orange, lemon or lime slices, a few cinnamon sticks, clove-studded citrus segments or whole apple, whatever is appropriate. Or follow the lead of our Wassail recipe and float a whole, baked, clove-studded orange and cinnamon sticks. Mmmm, tasty. But on Hot Buttered Cranberry Punch, float nothing but butter and worry about your diet tomorrow. 

More Hot Slow Cooker Drinks

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Join the party! Tell us how you were able to use or improve the recipe(s) or tips on this page.


Join the party! Tell us how you were able to use or improve the recipe(s) or tips on this page.

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