We have a family friend who makes incredible salads and salad dressings. Humble though it seems, I'm always thrilled to be invited to dinner at her house because I know she'll have a big, beautiful salad. Another friend is incredible with French desserts. Likewise, I know if we go to a party at her house there will be something lovely gracing the table after dinner. While we're not all incredible with salad dressings or French macarons, I think anyone can handle a simple party punch.
There are all different kinds of party punches, from rum punches to tequila punches. While the drink sometimes gets a bad rap given the commercial juice boxes that made their way into many a lunchbox, punch used to be something that households were known for. Families, businesses, and even governing bodies would create a signature punch and serve it when people would come to visit.
I took a cocktail class here in Seattle last week and we chatted about punch. The storied breakdown of punch components goes something like this: One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong, Four of Weak. For example, citrus juice could be the "sour", sugar could be the "sweet," bourbon and rye could be the "strong," and water or tea could be the "weak." Households would experiment with all different kinds of sweets and strongs to devise their very favorite blend, and aim to excite visitors with each glass.
In addition to having a new signature, punches are also an economical and easy way to serve cocktails to a larger crowd. It's just not realistic to be standing by the bar making each party guest their own individual cocktail. If that's your thing, great. But it leaves little time to enjoy the party itself. Make a big bowl of punch, on the other hand, set it out on the table and go have yourself a good time.
(Images: Martha Stewart)