Originating on the English ships sailing the East and West Indies, punch dates way back to the 1600’s – a century before the word ‘cocktail’ – later appearing on tables in England itself where it swiftly became a drink of the gentry including the likes of Charles Dickens. As Christmas is near, try these punch cocktail recipes for your holiday party.
Almost 500 years later, punch is now experiencing a revival being featured on the menus of some of the world’s best bars, from New York’s The Dead Rabbit to the clandestine, wood paneled Punch Room of London’s Edition Hotel. Due to its versatility and sociability, punch is making its way into homes where friends and family can gather around the central ‘flowing bowl’ ladling cups of punch while storytelling amidst a cozy ambiance.
How To Personalize Your Punch
Punch allows you to be truly creative, from the classic original recipes that were made with five key ingredients – rum, spice, sugar, citrus and water (see the Elemental punch below) to more adventurous interpretations using syrups and infusions from your home bar. With its many layers of flavor, due to its blend of rums selected from 5 or 7 regions across the East and West Indies, Banks Rums offer the depth and character that are ideal to create a delicious punch.
With its requirement to be pre-prepared and its low ABV, punch is a social drink. Served over a block of ice (made using a silicone bread mold available on Amazon from $8.99) in a large bowl, like the vintage-inspired punch kit created by David Wondrich (available at Cocktail Kingdom from $74.99), punch will last for several hours allowing hosts to relax and enjoy the ritual of the flowing bowl with their guests.
Punch Recipes For Home Entertaining
Sip to Impress with the Pineapple Punch
Level: Advanced | Prep: 24 hours | Serves: 20 drinks
Curated by mixologist and drinks expert Nick Strangeway, this innovative punch continues to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of cocktails with infusions, syrups and solutions but we promise it can be made at home!
1. 1.5 litres Apple Juice
2. 1 litres Chilled Lemon Verbena tea
3. 500ml Banks 5 Island Blend Rum
4. 350ml Banks 7 Golden Blend Rum
5. 300ml Douglas Fir Syrup (see below)
6. 200ml of Douglas Fir Infused Banks 5 Island Blend
7. 200ml Apple Molasses
8. 100ml of Citric acid solution (available in all major supermarkets)
1. To create the Douglas Fir Syrup, infuse 10g of gently dried Douglas Fir needles in 250ml of boiling water for about 10-15 mins before adding 250g of caster sugar.
2. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and then strain to remove the Douglas Fir Needles. Keep refrigerated before use.
3. Next make the verbena tea by infusing 3-4 large sprigs of fresh lemon verbena in 500ml of boiling water for 15 minutes. Or brew several verbena teabags for a few minutes.
4. Add 500ml of cold water and leave for a further 10 minutes before straining. Keep refrigerated.
5. Next, infuse 5g of gently dried Douglas Fir Needles in 200ml of Banks 5 at room temperature for no longer than 24 hours. Strain before use.
6. To create your punch, combine all the ingredients in a large punch bowl with a large block of ice.
7. Garnish with dehydrated crab apple wheels and serve.
Evoke Hygge with the Swedish Punch
Level: Intermediate | Prep: 1 hour | Serves: 10 drinks
Get cozy this season and pay homage to the Scandinavian festive style with the Swedish Punch created by one of the world’s best bartenders, Jim Meehan of New York’s PDT cocktail bar, and discover its clean notes and minimal ingredients.
1. 1 litre Banks 7 Golden Age Rum
2. 750ml English Breakfast Tea
3. 300ml Lemon Juice
4. 250g Demerara Sugar
5. 1 tsp Orange Bitters
1. Brew the tea, then stir in the sugar until it dissolves.
2. Add 4 cups of ice to chill and dilute the mixture, then add bitters, lemon juice and rum.
3. Chill before service.
4. When ready to serve, add the liquid to a punchbowl filled with one large block of ice.
5. Use a ladle to pour in to punch cups filled with ice and garnish with grated nutmeg.
Simplify Entertaining with the Elemental Punch (photo above)
Level: Easy | Prep: 24 hours | Serves: 10 drinks
Cocktail historian Dave Wondrich confirms that the Elemental Punch would have been one of the earliest recipes enjoyed. With its simple ingredients and freshly grated nutmeg, this punch includes the five original ‘elements’ of punch: sugar, spice, rum, citrus and water.
1. 1 litre Water
2. 700ml Banks 5 Island Blend or Banks 7 Golden Age Rum
3. 180g Sugar
4. 4 Lemons
5. 1 Nutmeg
1. Peel 4 lemons in long spirals and put the peels in a sealable 500ml jar.
2. Add 180g of white sugar.
3. Seal, shake and leave to sit unrefrigerated overnight.
4. An hour before you need the punch, open the jar with the peels and lemon oil and add 180ml freshly-squeezed, strained lemon juice.
5. Close the jar, shake well until sugar has dissolved and refrigerate.
6. When you need the punch add the contents of your jar, peels and all.
7. Add 700ml bottle of Banks 5 Island Blend or Banks 7 Golden Age rum and 1l of cold still water and stir.
8. Garnish by finely grating a quarter of a whole nutmeg across the top of the ice cube.
9. To serve, ladle 90ml portions into punch cups filled with ice.
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