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.
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.
Good Tip: Do you have a favorite cocktail that calls for non-alcoholic ingredients such as fruit juice, club soda or ginger ale? If so, you can probably make a punch out of it.
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.
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.