With the season of wedding showers, weddings, and baby showers approaching, hosts and hostesses are thinking about what food and drink they’ll be serving. And what would these celebrations be without that ubiquitous, but welcome, bowl of punch?
I don’t often serve punch, probably because I don’t often serve food and drink to large groups of guests. When I do make punch, it always contains tea.
Here are a couple of my favourite punch recipes – an elegant cup containing alcohol, and a refreshing, fruity cup made without.
When preparing strong tea, use twice as much leaf and steep for the usual amount of time; increasing the steep time will result in bitter tea. Flavoured teas are not recommended for these recipes. “Cups” refers to eight-ounce measuring cups, not to teacups, which generally hold six ounces. To make simple syrup, boil two cups of sugar with two cups water until dissolved. Offering ice cubes made with the same tea you used for the punch is a nice touch.
This alcohol-free punch is named after every little girl’s favourite “grownup” beverage, the Shirley Temple cocktail: ginger ale and a maraschino cherry served in a champagne glass. You don’t even have to be a girl to enjoy it!
Shirley Tea Punch
About 60 punch cups
2 quarts (8 cups) freshly-prepared black tea, cooled
1 quarts (4 cups) cold water
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 quart (4 cups) fresh orange juice
6 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
2 cups simple syrup
1 litre ginger ale
Thinly-sliced rounds of lemon and orange for garnish
Pour all ingredients except ginger ale into a punch bowl and stir well. Just before serving, gently stir in the ginger ale. Garnish with citrus slice floaters.
A festive “adults-only” punch.
Champagne (or sparkling wine) Punch
About 50 punch cups
2 cups freshly-prepared strong green tea, cooled 1 cup brandy 1/2 cup light rum 1/2 cup Cointreau liqueur 1 gallon champagne or sparkling wine (about 2-1/2 750ml bottles)
Mix together the tea, brandy, rum, and Cointreau. When ready to serve, pour in the champagne or sparkling wine and stir gently.
[Editor’s note: We know you are all responsible adults and will indulge wisely!]
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