Seeing punch recipes make their way back onto drink menus in bars far and wide is an official sign that winter is over and the warm weather months have officially arrived. Time for outdoor drinking with friends and a communal love of this one-bowl wonder of a cocktail. But we’re not talking about the fruit punch from your childhood memories. We’re talking serious, boozy punch.
David Wondrich, one of the most brilliant cocktail writers I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, not only knows his way around a punch bowl, but can also speak to the historical importance of punch as a cocktail. His punch recipes are some of the best the cocktail world has ever seen, and he shares all of his knowledge about punch in his book Punch, The Delights (and Dangers) of The Flowing Bowl.
Photo courtesy of Dinner Series via Flickr/cc
As a punch historian and overall spirit aficionado, his recipes are incredibly seasonal and unique as well as educational. More importantly, they signify what punch is all about: bringing friends together to enjoy a glass of this glorious nectar in sweet, sweet harmony.
Just in time for punch season, here are a few of our favorite punch recipes, with a couple to pay homage to the punch man himself!
David Wondrich’s Rum Punch(From Saveur.com)
2 cups strong black tea (hot)
½ cup demerara sugar
½ cup fresh lime juice
2 cups aged rum (rhum vieux)
Fill a medium freezer-proof bowl with water, and freeze overnight. Mix the hot tea and the sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate and let cool. Once the mixture is chilled, add the lime juice and rum. Stir well and refrigerate until ready to serve. About 30 minutes before serving, loosen the ice from the bowl and transfer it into a punch bowl. Pour the punch over the ice and top it with a generous grating of fresh nutmeg.
Imperial Punch Royale(From BonAppetit.com)
1 3 ½-3 3 ¾ pound pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups brandy
½ cup sugar
½ cup boiling water
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup tawny Port (such as Quinta do Infantado)
¼ cup maraschino liqueur (such as Luxardo)
Large block of ice with orange slices and lime slices
2 cups chilled Prosecco or other sparkling wine
1 cup or more of chilled sparkling water
Place the pineapple pieces in a large bowl. Pour the brandy over; cover and let pineapple soak at room temperature at least 10 hours overnight. Place the sugar in a medium metal bowl. Remove the peel from the orange in strips using a vegetable peeler and muddle with the sugar. Add ½ cup boiling water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Strain the mixture, reserving the syrup. Discard the peel. Strain the pineapple mixture into a large bowl, reserving the brandy. Discard the pineapple. Add ¼ cup of the orange syrup, lime juice, Port, and maraschino liqueur to the brandy. Cover and chill for at least two hours. Just before serving, transfer the punch to a punch bowl; add the block of ice to the bowl. Stir in the Prosecco, and add in one cup of sparkling water if desired.
**To make the ice ring: Layer orange and lime slices in the bottom of a Bundt pan. To keep the slices from floating, weigh them down with a few handfuls of ice cubes. Fill the pan with water and freeze overnight.
Sparkling Peach Mimosa Punch(From CDKitchen.com)
2 ½ cups water
1 can (6 oz) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted
1 bottle champagne, chilled
1 bottle sparkling mineral water, chilled
1 can peach nectar, chilled
Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl. Stir well. Garnish with orange slices. Serve immediately.
Negroni Punch(From BonAppetit.com)
4 cups assorted fresh fruit (such as berries, pitted cherries, and pitted sliced apricots and peaches)
2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup Campari
1 cup sweet vermouth
1 cup gin (we recommend Nolet’s Silver Gin)
2 750-mL bottles chilled Prosecco
Place the fruit in a large punch bowl. Sprinkle with sugar to taste, if desired. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and juices form. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the ice cubes. Divide the punch among eight tall ice-filled glasses and serve, or serve in a punch bowl.
David Wondrich’s Fish House Punch(From Esquire.com)
1 ½ cups superfine sugar
2 qts water
1 qt lemon juice
2 qts dark rum
1 qt cognac
4 oz peach brandy
In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in enough water to get it to dissolve all the way, then incorporate the lemon juice. Next, add the spirits and the rest of the water--or as much of it as you wish to contribute (Dave recommends less water in the summer to allow for more ice meltage). Add in a large block of ice. Let it stand in a cool place for an hour or so before serving. Do not garnish with fruit, herb, vegetable, or paper umbrella.