Snacks & Treats
New Year’s Eve Punch For Kids And (A Boozy One For) Adults
BY JULIE VAN ROSENDAAL, DINNER WITH JULIE
Dec 30, 2016
Punch is the cocktail of the season, with punch bowls showing up on restaurant menus, and being pulled out of basements and dusted off for holiday parties. There are many benefits to the one bowl punch, not least of all simplifying the bar — you need only stock up on beer and wine, and choose one boozy cocktail to make a large batch of, rather than stocking a bar. If you don’t have a punchbowl, a large pitcher or two will do.
Besides ease of preparation, a good, fruity punch will also fit the bill for any kids you have around, so long as you hold off on the alcohol. A more condensed punch can be served with a bottle of bubbly alongside — prosecco or sparkling wine — and ginger ale or lemon-lime soda for the kids. Instruct guests to fill their glasses halfway (or to taste), and top with bubbles. Most clear spirits, like gin, rum and vodka, do well in a fruity punch; keep a bottle on the shelf to fortify cocktails as required, or divide your punch into two (clearly marked) vessels — one boozy and one not.
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Like fruit itself, the best punches have an element of sweet and sour. You can also float cubes or slices of just about any fruit in it, from pineapple or watermelon chunks, to pomegranate seeds. For something special, try adding scoops of raspberry or mango sorbet.
Juicy Fruit Punch
Ratios here are totally up to you — feel free to play around with your favourite juice combinations. And of course, the formula can be multiplied to accommodate the number of guests. You can also replenish the punch over the course of the night. If you like, play around with flavours — try adding some grated fresh ginger or a handful of fresh mint.
- 4 cups (1 L) lemonade, pineapple, pomegranate or cranberry juice
- 4 cups (1 L) apple, orange or mango juice (or apple cider)
- sliced fresh fruit, such as oranges, lemons, limes and apples
- berries or grapes
- 4 cups (1 L) ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, or prosecco or other sparkling wine (or to taste)
In a large pitcher or bowl, stir together the juices and add a handful of fresh fruit. Float in a juice-based frozen ice ring, if you have one.
Just before serving, add the bubbles or instruct guests to add bubbles to taste by the glass. Serves 10-15.
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For a syrupy punch concentrate: simmer four cups chopped rhubarb or other tart fruit (like raspberries) with one cup water until the fruit breaks down. Mash well and strain, and then stir in half as much sugar, bringing to a simmer, then cooling to a thin syrup. (This works well with straight-up pomegranate juice, too.) Add a splash to bubbly drinks or to vodka sodas, or to soda water for an alternative to pop.
If you’re heading to a party: you can bring your punch along in a large mason jar — if you bring just the concentrate, you won’t need as large a container. Pack bottles of bubbles separately, and instruct friends to add them to taste. Or if your friend has a punchbowl, you can assemble the whole batch there.
How to make a frozen ice ring: A flavoured punch ring is simple — made with juice, it won’t water down your punch, and the large, solid ring will take longer to melt, keeping your punch well chilled in its bowl. Freeze whatever kind of juice you use in your punch in a bundt pan, filling it no more than halfway full. If you like, add slices of citrus and/or fresh or frozen cranberries, pomegranate seeds or even sprigs of fresh thyme to add a pop of colour. As the ice melts, the fruit will work its way into the punch.