Party On a Budget: Poor Girl Champagne Punch

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Punch is a fun-to-serve, often less expensive way to offer an adult beverage to your guests. And have you noticed? In the last few years, the cocktail bowl has made a comeback in bars, a festive way to share a drink with a table of friends. At the very least, punch will make your party memorable, even more so if you make a complementary ice ring. My favorite punch recipe has a secret ingredient, a really cheap one, that no one suspects.

It was introduced to me by a dear friend. With my husband and our three sons out of town, I decided to host a potluck style ladies' night at my gloriously empty house. Susan brought the fixins for Poor Girl Champagne Punch, named after a number of people sipped it and exclaimed, "Ooh! Champagne Punch!" 

Funny, because there is no bubbly in this bowl. Susan mixed the ingredients right in her pitcher. (No punch bowl? No problem. A pitcher works just as well.) She added:

Sliced lemons and limes

1 can frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate

1/2 cup vodka

3 1/2 cans of beer (Michelob Ultra seems to work best. No lie.)

1 cup frozen raspberries

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You may notice that no Michelob Ultra appears in the picture. I maintain that the light favorite of tennis-playing ladies everywhere is the proper choice. In this instance, my husband went to a fancy store (Hi, Whole Foods!) that didn't stock it, so he went with this local brew, Westbrook White Thai. It's a great beverage (really great, actually), but too much of a real beer for faux Champagne punch. Never fear: The drink was still plenty delicious and my friends sipped with abandon. One guest, Matt, pointed out that it ended up tasting a bit like Lindemans Framboise.

When the punch gets low, add a little more beer, club soda if your guests need some pacing. By the end of the evening, the ice ring will have melted into a delicious slushy, alcoholic treat. Enjoy! (Just don't tell any French people that the combination of Mich Ultra and vodka tastes a lot like Champagne to a few of us on this side of the pond.)

What's your favorite budget friendly party treat?

Related: It's Your Party: Make a Signature Punch!

(Images: Anne Postic)

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