Recipes from The Kitchn: Paradise Punch

Everclear®

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Remember when "summer break" consisted of never-ending pool parties, s'mores followed by scary stories around a campfire, and perpetually pink popsicle lips? (Oh, to be young!) Well, if July's scorching temperatures are making you too nostalgic for childhood, this adults-only twist on tropical fruit punch will remind you why being a grown up is so much better.

Whether it's summer sangria or something stronger, a big bowl of booze can never be a bad idea. As one not cut out for multi-tasking, I generally lack the focus to greet friends and muddle custom cocktails at the same time. My party guests usually arrive to an over-sized pitcher of a sippable something rather, along with instructions to generously serve themselves. (All while I'm hiding in the bathroom, scrambling to dry my hair!)

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My preferences for drinks en masse have evolved over the years — and while the Southerner in me will forever remain attached to that oh-so-frothy sherbet and Sprite concoction — I can happily say my days of high voltage "jungle juice" are now behind me. I still love a stiff drink, but now it is much more about balance than blackout. A good punch, like anything, should have depth: it should be strong, bitter, sour, and sweet.

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Say good-bye to "hunch punch" and hello to "paradise" with this modern twist on the infamous trashcan tipple (i.e. high fructose corn syrup and red dye free). Despite Everclear's anything-goes reputation, grain alcohol is actually the ideal base for this festive summer punch; its neutral taste allows the bold fruit flavors to really shine through. And if you are worried about its potency, a hefty glug of soda water helps lighten the load.

This not-from-concentrate cocktail is a far cry from the "just add fruit punch" versions out there, with lots of tropical flavor and plenty of "Hawaiian" flair. Your inner-child and teenage self thank you.

Paradise Punch

Yields approximately 2 1/2 quarts


4 cups papaya nectar, preferably organic
2 cups Everclear grain alcohol
2 cups guava juice (preferably not from concentrate)
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice (preferably not from concentrate)
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
Sliced fruit, such as apples, pineapple, apricots, peaches, and mangos
2 cups soda water, dry sparkling wine, ginger ale, or ginger beer
Orange bitters, to taste (optional)

Combine papaya nectar, Everclear, guava juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and pomegranate juice in a large bowl. Stir in sliced fruit. Cover and chill for a minimum of four hours, preferably overnight.

Stir in club soda and bitters right before serving. Taste and adjust flavors, if desired. Best if chilled with a large ice ring.

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Per serving, based on 4 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
231
Fat
0.9 g (1.4%)
Saturated
0.2 g (1.1%)
Carbs
58.1 g (19.4%)
Fiber
5.4 g (21.5%)
Sugars
45.8 g
Protein
1.8 g (3.6%)
Sodium
56.1 mg (2.3%)

(Image credits: Nealey Dozier)