Hosting cocktail parties is fun, but wouldn’t you rather be mingling with guests than stuck behind the bar, mixing drinks? If you don’t have a mixologist in the family, why not turn to an age-old party drinks solution: a bowl of punch.
We’re not talking about the Hawaiian kind; these are delightfully tasty and potent grown-up punches.
The best modern punches are a mix of wine, citrus, and spice that look back to 1700s England, according to cocktail historian and journalist Dave Wondrich.
"A very popular way of drinking wine was with spices and maybe some sugar," says Wondrich, who shares many classic recipes and lore in his book Punch: The Delights and Dangers of the Flowing Bowl.
Poking around on Epicurious, we found the hot Nose-Warmer Punch, which starts with dry red wine spiked with brandy, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon zest. We liked the sound and the hue of the Pink Champagne Punch, which takes its color from pomegranate juice. But the most popular punch on the site is the Champagne Punch, a festive blend of pineapple, brandy, Chambord, and sparkling wine.
Don’t worry about having a punch bowl; a soup tureen, a jug you use for summer sangria, or even a big stock pot can stand in. And adding a block of ice decorated with fruits is a great way to keep the punch cold for hours, while simultaneously diluting the punch to keep it from being too powerful.
And there’s a social aspect to the beverage, too: the punch bowl is a great place to meet.