I was inspired by this request from readrer Kristi Kinkade, who said, "My family has numerous parties during the summer. I'd like to be able to make one beverage that's great for kids, and just by adding alcohol would be great for adults." Well here you go: A sweet and sour lemony base that makes the perfect grown-up cocktail... and also happens to be just as great for the kids.
This is what is known as a shrub or sherbet. It's essentially a sweet and sour base that can be used for a plethora of punch recipes.
Make sure to check out David Wondrich's general tips for making a great party punch, as many of them are instructive here. A gorgeous punch bowl naturally becomes a centerpiece and by simply using petite glassware it creates flow and conversation as guests are obligated to revisit for refills. I love how this punch can be made non-alcoholic or loaded with booze to suit your guest list.
For both punches fill a punch bowl with ice and pour punch over. Ladle into small glasses.
Maureen C. Petrosky writes what she knows, food, booze and parties. Author of The Wine Club, she appears regularly on The TODAY show to share her vices, and advice with the world. For more info check out www.maureenpetrosky.com or follow her on Twitter @maureenpetrosky
It's Reader Request Week at The Kitchn! This post was requested by KRISTI KINKADE.