Your Holiday Party Needs a Punch Bowl
No matter what you're celebrating, coming together over a cup of cheer is one of the universal pleasures of the holiday season. And while supersized batches of eggnog and wassail are party-circuit stalwarts, why feel bound by tradition? With a pedigree reaching back into the 16th century and modern iterations popping up at some of the country’s most creative cocktail dens, punch’s possibilities have never seemed more endless.
At The Dorsey in Las Vegas, bartender Juyoung Kang keeps a classic Creole Punch featuring dark rum, pineapple, ginger, and allspice on her menu year-round; come holiday time, she adds a spiced mulled cider blended with sparkling wine and golden Pineau des Charentes. At Anina in San Francisco, revelers can order a round of Southern Hospitality punch spiked with bourbon, black tea, peach, lemon, and a splash of soda.
To mix up a batch, remember “one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak”—the rhyme most punch connoisseurs defer to as the rule for proportions. Sour usually means citrus (usually lime, lemon, or grapefruit juice). Sweet could be simple syrup or a low-alcohol liqueur or aperitif, like Cointreau or Aperol. Strong is, of course, spirits: bourbon, rye, brandy, and the like. Traditionally, the “weak” is water or tea, but fresh-pressed juices and ciders can be another delicious way to add layers of flavor.
The other thing to love about punch is the bowl itself. Ivy Mix, the award-winning co-owner of Leyenda in Brooklyn, has a lucky connection—her father, Robin Mix, is an acclaimed glass artist, and his gorgeous handblown bowl is perfect for showing off Ivy’s heady cardamom-scented holiday punch. For the rest of us, Etsy and eBay are chockablock with possibilities. Just be forewarned: Collecting punch bowls is like sipping a glass of the liquid itself—it’s hard to stop at just one.
Shop these now:
CHAMP GLASS PUNCH BOWL ($100, cb2.com)
BEADED ALUMINUM 16-INCH PUNCH BOWL ($130, overstock.com)
LARGE REVERE BOWL ($240, simonpearce.com)
MOTTAHEDEH NATIONAL TRUST BLUE AND WHITE PUNCH BOWL ($1,040, scullyandscully.com)