If you’ve got a big party coming up and you’re the one on the hook for the party punch, there’s a lot to consider. Thankfully, it is possible to make a punch on the cheap and ahead of time. Fresh-made juice can be stored overnight in the fridge for optimum freshness. One gallon will serve about ten people, so plan accordingly.
Also, if you are planning on adding alcohol, you’ll want to ensure you’re using the juice you’re adding will keep everyone hydrated, which will prevent future hangovers.
Generally speaking, you’ll add two parts alcohol to three parts punch, but if the alcohol is strong grain, plan on only adding five or six shots to the gallon.
If you’re making hot punch, mix everything together well beforehand, probably the night before. Mix it all together – minus any alcohol – and let it cool. Then, right before the party, heat the punch back up and add the appropriate amount of liquor.
If you’re adding fizz to any punch, hot or cold, always make sure you add that last because the fizz will not survive being in the fridge overnight.
Punch Ingredients for Large Groups
The most obvious ingredient is in fact the fruit juice. There are many options for how you source this. You can buy it in either bottle or concentrate in cans – sometimes frozen sometimes not. You can also make your own juice if you happen to have a lot of oranges or lemons and like juicing.
If you have a good juicer, you can even make apple juices, carrots, etc.
The best juices for punch are:
- Cranberry juice
- Grapefruit juice
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
- Orange juice
- Pineapple juice
There are other types of juice, but those are the usual ones. Feel free to mix and match for different flavors. If all you’re looking for is a non-alcoholic punch, you may even be able to stop at this step.
However, if you’re adding alcohol, here are some of the good options:
- Light rum
- Dark rum
- Coconut rum in specific
- White tequila
- Fruit flavored vodkas can add to the flavor
Again, if you know the group and their alcohol tastes well, you can feel free to swap something out.
The last thing you may want to add, alcoholic punch or not, is some fizz. You can do this in several ways. Here are the typical options:
- Soda water (use this one if the flavor of the punch is already strong)
- Lemon-lime sodas (for citrusy undertones)
- Ginger-ale (mild, but does change the flavor)
- Champagne (different flavors can shift the tone of the punch, also this does up the alcohol content)
Important Tools To Have
You will also need something to put your punch in. You can purchase large beverage dispensers with pour spouts. Glass ones are fancy, though plastic ones tend to be cheaper and will not break as easily.
Punch bowls (glass or plastic) are great for when there is a large table to stage the punch on. Be sure to have a couple of ladles to dish the punch out.
You can also use large pitchers for when the parties are smaller or will be separated at different tables.
When it comes to cups, there are plenty of options. For more chill gatherings, there are always solo cups. Fancier parties might require nicer punch cups or stemless wine glasses. Formal or otherwise special occasions may warrant stemmed wine glasses or champagne flutes.
The Size Of Your Party
If the upcoming party is more like an intimate get-together, with roughly ten people, you can possibly even get away with buying a gallon of punch from the store, maybe two gallons if you want a variety of flavors. This will be the easiest option, and possibly even the most cost-effective if you do not have a lot of typical mixers on hand.
You can also add alcohol to the pre-bought punch and pour it into a punch bowl and it’s possible no one can even tell it’s store-bought. However, making your own punch can fill you with a sense of pride when it goes over well.
When you’ve got a party ranging from ten to twenty people, you’ll want to have at least two gallons to get you through the event. If you want to have a little extra, plan on adding a third gallon. This is a situation where you might also want to have a couple of options based on preferences and whether or not everyone drinks alcohol.
Even if you’re buying pre-made punch from the store, you’ll want to mix it with something else to help it go further.
For parties with more than twenty people, be very sure you’re allocating a gallon of punch to every ten. You will definitely want to have options too. Making an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic version of the same punch is the easiest option. But feel free to experiment too! Maybe add fizz to one but not another. Perhaps have a small container of warm punch.
In any case, regardless of the size or style of the party, making the punch is the dish that allows you to experiment the most.
This hard work of creating your own punch for a large group of people, the satisfaction and pride that you will get from it, is worth it!
Experiment, make the juice, and be proud of yourself!