There’s nothing more perfect for a party than a big bowl of punch, although it’s sadly fallen out of favour in recent years, only occasionally being pressed into service as a welcome drink at a Christmas gathering.
Punch aficionados appreciate its versatility and its novelty value – it offers the advantage of being easy to prepare in advance and, if creatively imagined, will impress guests no end. Mix alcohol, juices, botanicals and spices ahead of time, leaving ice and garnishes till just before serving. Aim for circa 20 percent ABV as a rule of thumb and 8-10 servings per bowl.
Ladle punch to serve rather than pouring – this ensures you get a good mix of ingredients, even when they start to settle.
A refreshing punch for a summer party. Combine a glass of lemon juice with two tablespoons of sugar before adding 250mls each of elderflower liqueur and white spirit (vodka or gin). Top with half-a-litre of your favourite apple juice, ice and a generous glug of sparkling water. For a quick alternative, pour Edmunds’ Elderflower Collins ready-to-serve cocktail into a bowl, top with soda water, ice and sliced lemons – presto pronto, instant gin punch!
There are lots of different recipes for rum punch but most incorporate a blend of tropical fruit juices along with a mixture of light and dark rum. We recommend using half-a-litre each of orange juice and pineapple juice, to 125mls each of grenadine, lime juice, light rum and dark rum. Stir with ice and serve in hurricane glasses with a fruit garnish.
The recipe for this is a moveable feast. The basic ingredients – red wine, spices and sugar – can be adjusted to suit your personal taste. Spices are best kept whole; cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves all work well but be sure to strain* them out before serving. Orange and lemon slices add a much-needed citrus tang. For an extra kick, add a splash of sloe gin at the end.
Hot spiced cider
A great choice for a Halloween or Bonfire Night party. Pour a 1.5-litre bottle of cider into a large pan, together with an orange, a couple of tablespoons of muscovado sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and a little grated nutmeg. Warm gently without boiling, strain and ladle into cups, adding a splash of rum, if desired.
*A good tip for handling spices is to secure them into a muslin bag before adding to the pan – the bag can simply be lifted out before serving.