Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Punch on a budget


Rafa
 Share

Recommended Posts

My girlfiend's birthday is coming up, and we're hosting 20 or so of our friends, and some of their friends and family, in our apartment. Along with music, I'm in charge of food and libations.

We've agreed on a budget of about $100 for both. Food will be very cheap (I'm just going to make (killer) guacamole and brownies and buy chips), which leaves drinks. Since I'd rather spend the party socializing and imbibing than mixing, and because spring is here, punch seems like a great option.

My question is: what are good punch recipes that can be made for reasonably cheap? As much as I love a good Fish House Punch or Swedish Punsch, it's probably not worth it to spend the money on authentic peach brandy or Batavia Arrack for a casual get-together of non-cocktailian friends. At the same time, I'd like something refined and delicious, both because I like to treat my guests well and because I'll be drinking it, too.

The only 'dietary' restriction I have to observe is that some guests [think they] don't like rum. By coincidence, I'm low on just about every spirit except for rum, so I'll need to make some purchases.

Right now my idea is to make punch versions of the following two cocktails, the first of which was designed for my girlfriend's tastes and will therefore be a hit with at least one guest, and the latter of which is just a good refreshing whiskey drink.

by Rafa García Febles, NYC
2 oz Blanco tequila (strawberry-infused)
1 oz Elderflower liqueur, St. Germain
3/4 oz Lime juice
1 ds Rhubarb bitters, Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters Rhubarb
1 oz Sparkling rosé wine
Shake all but sparkling wine, strain, serve up or on a rock, top with rosé.

by Joseph Tkach, Seattle, WA, altered by Rafa García Febles, NYC.
1 1/2 oz Bourbon
1 oz Grapefruit juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon syrup
2 oz Champagne
1 sli Grapefruit
Shake, strain, lowball, rock, top with Champagne, garnish with grapefruit slice and a bit of fresh cinnamon.
--
Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community
These (or at any rate the first one) are rather on the expensive side, though, so I'm looking for alternatives.
Any help is appreciated! Thanks.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you really want to juice 20 people's worth of limes? Assume that they're gonna have several drinks, too.

For a pre-batched punch of 12 servings (roughly one bottle of tequila) that means about 12 limes, which isn't so bad. I could always just make the punch without the citrus and leave a bowl of cut limes for people to juice themselves, 'Ti Punch-style.

Actually, a 'Ti Punch would be a great idea, if it weren't for

No rum?!? Sigh....

If I were feeling a little devious, I'd make Wondrich's Mississippi Punch and tell people there's no rum in it.

Maybe I should rebel and make a punch-sized Ashtray Heart and tell them it's Scotch.

Edited by Rafa (log)

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I might also leave out a cheap bottle of wine or two, or a liter of a cheap but good blended Scotch like Bank Note with some soda, so people can serve themselves. Or encourage guests to BYOB as well.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rafa,

If you don't want to use rum, something like Phil Ward's Mother's Ruin punch is very nice. I use Beefeater gin (~ $15 for a bottle) and Cremant for the Champagne component ($10-$15). Grab a few extra Cremant bottles so your guests can have that if they are not in the mood for a punch, or if you run out of punch.

Another option is to look at your inventory and make something around the things you already have but don't plan on replacing (great occasion to clean up your liquor cabinet!). For example a while back I had a lot of bottles of Whaler's rum which I don't care much for. It became the base for Fish House Punch (and you can easily substitute something else for the elusive peach brandy - I usually go for a little bit of Calvados and I imagine that applejack would work too). I've made many batches and it's always been a huge hit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the great suggestions.

I think Mother's Ruin Punch would be a big hit, and as you say thrifty with Beefeater or Broker's (also around $15) and a Cremant (which is my usual cost-saving strategy when a recipe calls for Champagne and I feel like something more complex than cheap Prosecco or Cava).

I may do that and a big sangria-type punch with a couple of bottles of Cocchi Americano Rosa or Lillet Rose (~$16).

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My girlfiend's birthday is coming up, and we're hosting 20 or so of our friends, and some of their friends and family, in our apartment. Along with music, I'm in charge of food and libations.

...

Any help is appreciated! Thanks.

It looks as if you've got the food and libations covered; my only contribution, then, is to ask whether you really want to call her your girlfiend. I mean, if she's down with it, that's cool...

(Heh.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the great suggestions.

I think Mother's Ruin Punch would be a big hit, and as you say thrifty with Beefeater or Broker's (also around $15) and a Cremant (which is my usual cost-saving strategy when a recipe calls for Champagne and I feel like something more complex than cheap Prosecco or Cava).

I may do that and a big sangria-type punch with a couple of bottles of Cocchi Americano Rosa or Lillet Rose (~$16).

Great! I will be making a batch of Mother's Ruin Punch very soon as well; this has become our family tradition for mother's day :smile: (together with FHP for the holiday season).

Please do share what you come up with for your sangria-type punch since that sounds like a great idea as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great! I will be making a batch of Mother's Ruin Punch very soon as well; this has become our family tradition for mother's day :smile: (together with FHP for the holiday season).

Mother's Ruin for Mother's Day? Awesome.

Please do share what you come up with for your sangria-type punch since that sounds like a great idea as well.

I will! From what I've read, the Cocchi Rosa is punchy enough that it could probably stand on its own with some lemon and a bit of dilution. But I'm sure a few fresh strawberries and some bourbon (just in time for the Derby) won't hurt it.

My girlfiend's birthday is coming up, and we're hosting 20 or so of our friends, and some of their friends and family, in our apartment. Along with music, I'm in charge of food and libations.

...

Any help is appreciated! Thanks.

It looks as if you've got the food and libations covered; my only contribution, then, is to ask whether you really want to call her your girlfiend. I mean, if she's down with it, that's cool...

(Heh.)

This went right over my head. :smile: If only there were a word that described an irreverent, winking tone I could use to describe the content of this post.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, like one of those people who turn up at your party at 4am when you're already wasted even though you didn't invite them and pretend to be your best friend and break your chair and finish off all the booze and then start telling everyone what to do, hit on your friend's sister and start an argument with him and mess up your kitchen and make you tell them to leave and then sort of shove them out of the house and stand in the street shouting until your friends are starting to have a hangover and decide to leave too, I am here only seven hours late to give you all my ideas even if you have plenty of your own and were getting on fine.

Dusty Answer

2 parts strawberry and rhubarb shrub

2 parts Hendrick's

1/2 part Cardamaro

2 parts sparkling wine

rosemary garnish

Strawberry and rhubarb shrub

Put equal parts by weight of sugar and roughly-chopped, over-ripe fruit and a couple of pink peppercorns in a bowl in the air with a towel over for two days. Then strain out the solids, add the same quantity of white balsamic vinegar and put it in a bottle. It's shelf-stable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My girlfiend's birthday is coming up, and we're hosting 20 or so of our friends, and some of their friends and family, in our apartment. Along with music, I'm in charge of food and libations.

...

Any help is appreciated! Thanks.

It looks as if you've got the food and libations covered; my only contribution, then, is to ask whether you really want to call her your girlfiend. I mean, if she's down with it, that's cool...

(Heh.)

I have to admit, I don't get it :unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My girlfiend's birthday is coming up, and we're hosting 20 or so of our friends, and some of their friends and family, in our apartment. Along with music, I'm in charge of food and libations.

...

Any help is appreciated! Thanks.

It looks as if you've got the food and libations covered; my only contribution, then, is to ask whether you really want to call her your girlfiend. I mean, if she's down with it, that's cool...

(Heh.)

I have to admit, I don't get it :unsure:

Girlfiend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a crowd-pleaser, but still interesting enough for you. Skip the Knob Creek and use a handle of Jim Beam or whatever. It will be a lot of squeezing, though. Bottled grapefruit juice might be compromise.

Christmas in Kentucky
by Alice Fay (Catering Sales Mgr) and Stefan Jarausch (Exec Chef, Oak Long Bar), Fairmont Copley, Boston
1 oz Overproof bourbon, Knob Creek
1 oz Aperol
1 1/2 oz Grapefruit juice
1/2 oz Lime juice

Shake, strain, lowball, rocks

Excellent. Quite accessible, despite a touch of Aperol bitterness and the bourbon base. Refreshing enough for summer; festive enough for Christmas.

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My girlfiend's birthday is coming up, and we're hosting 20 or so of our friends, and some of their friends and family, in our apartment. Along with music, I'm in charge of food and libations.

...

Any help is appreciated! Thanks.

It looks as if you've got the food and libations covered; my only contribution, then, is to ask whether you really want to call her your girlfiend. I mean, if she's down with it, that's cool...

(Heh.)

I have to admit, I don't get it :unsure:

Girlfiend.

I need things spelled out like this often. Can I get back to you with more questions?

Either way, thanks.

( :blush: )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, like one of those people who turn up at your party at 4am when you're already wasted even though you didn't invite them and pretend to be your best friend and break your chair and finish off all the booze and then start telling everyone what to do, hit on your friend's sister and start an argument with him and mess up your kitchen and make you tell them to leave and then sort of shove them out of the house and stand in the street shouting until your friends are starting to have a hangover and decide to leave too, I am here only seven hours late to give you all my ideas even if you have plenty of your own and were getting on fine.

I, wh-- were you at my last party, by any chance?

Dusty Answer

2 parts strawberry and rhubarb shrub

2 parts Hendrick's

1/2 part Cardamaro

2 parts sparkling wine

rosemary garnish

Strawberry and rhubarb shrub

Put equal parts by weight of sugar and roughly-chopped, over-ripe fruit and a couple of pink peppercorns in a bowl in the air with a towel over for two days. Then strain out the solids, add the same quantity of white balsamic vinegar and put it in a bottle. It's shelf-stable.

Awesome. Your recipe?

Girlfiend.

Oh dear. I hope she never finds this.

This is a crowd-pleaser, but still interesting enough for you. Skip the Knob Creek and use a handle of Jim Beam or whatever. It will be a lot of squeezing, though. Bottled grapefruit juice might be compromise.

Christmas in Kentucky

by Alice Fay (Catering Sales Mgr) and Stefan Jarausch (Exec Chef, Oak Long Bar), Fairmont Copley, Boston

1 oz Overproof bourbon, Knob Creek

1 oz Aperol

1 1/2 oz Grapefruit juice

1/2 oz Lime juice

Shake, strain, lowball, rocks

Excellent. Quite accessible, despite a touch of Aperol bitterness and the bourbon base. Refreshing enough for summer; festive enough for Christmas.

This does sound really good, and I think Aperol's bitterness is mild enough for this crowd. The huge amount of fresh grapefruit does give me pause, but I could probably cut it a bit and supplement it with other forms of acidity (citric acid, or plain old bottled grapefruit as you say), especially as flavor-wise it seems a bit redundant (Aperol + lime = grapefruit). Or I could go to this grocery store in Chelsea where they sell white grapefruits the size of volleyballs and stomp on a few of those.

Edited by Rafa (log)

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, like one of those people who turn up at your party at 4am when you're already wasted even though you didn't invite them and pretend to be your best friend and break your chair and finish off all the booze and then start telling everyone what to do, hit on your friend's sister and start an argument with him and mess up your kitchen and make you tell them to leave and then sort of shove them out of the house and stand in the street shouting until your friends are starting to have a hangover and decide to leave too, I am here only seven hours late to give you all my ideas even if you have plenty of your own and were getting on fine.

I, wh-- were you at my last party, by any chance?

Hey, you invited me, bro.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have two go-to "easy" punches, meaning they don't required that many idiosyncratic ingredients, and don't need particularly high-end spirits:

1. - Dave Wondrich's "Martell Cognac Punch Royal" - which I simply make with WT101 or Old Fitzbonded instead. You could probably use Old Grandad to good effect here as well.

Recipe here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/2010/11/david-wondrich-celebrates-punch-at-hemingways-plus-a-recipe.html

Martell Cognac Punch Royal
From: David Wondrich
Note: To make a 1-quart block of ice, fill a cleaned 1-quart milk carton with water and place in the freezer. When frozen, peel away the carton.
The peel of 3 lemons, each cut in a 1/2-inch-wide spiral with a vegetable peeler
6 ounces (3/4 cup) superfine sugar
6 ounces (3/4 cup) fresh-squeezed, strained lemon juice
25 ounces (one 750-milliliter bottle) Martell VSOP Cognac
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) Sandeman Founder's Reserve Port
24 ounces (3 cups) cold water
Nutmeg
Muddle the lemon peels and the sugar together and let sit for at least 20 minutes. Then muddle again and stir in the lemon juice. Add the Cognac, Port and water and stir. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. To serve, pour into a 1-gallon punch bowl with a 1-quart block of ice and grate nutmeg over the top.

2. Marcos Tello's adaption of David Embury's "Brandy Punch" - which I either use Paul Masson VSOP (which Wondrich recommended here: http://www.esquire.com/features/drinking/best-cheap-liquor-0209), or the aforementioned bourbons. I've also made both with Rye, back when WT Rye was still 101 and pretty cheap, and it was also delicious.

Here's the recipe: http://tastingwithtom.com/node/198

Brandy Punch (The Edison, Los Angeles)
• 3 thin-cut peels of three lemons
• 3 Heaping Barspoons of Sugar
• 3 oz. Simple Syrup
• 2 oz. Cointreau
• .25 oz. Orange Bitters
• 5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
• 4 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
• .5 oz. Monin Pomegranate Syrup
• 16 oz. Cognac
• 16 oz. Soda Water
Muddle the lemon peels with superfine sugar. Add rest of the ingredients, except
for soda water, and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add Ice and stir again.
Strain over a large block of ice and top up with soda water. 10-12 servings.
History: Recipe adapted from one originally published in The Fine Art of Mixing
Drinks by David Embury, 1948.

They've both been hits at numerous parties. Hope that helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess that when I decided to ask a group of talented and knowledgeable bark folk and cocktail enthusiasts for good cheap-ish punch recipes I should've known I'd get more good recipes than I knew what to do with. (Man, that's an ugly sentence.)

Keep them coming, though! I'd be happy for this to turn into a general recipe-sharing thread for good punches, thrifty or otherwise.

Campus Five, that Brandy Punch recipe is mighty tempting, not least because it uses so little booze relative to some of the others. It looks a bit sweet for my tastes though.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, then: I used eje's "Chinese New Year's Punch" to very good effect at a 75-person winter party this past December, as a non-alcoholic or "spike-your-own" option alongside his "Great Pumpkin Punch" and a very boozy eggnog. (I can't remember where the eggnog recipe came from, but it included bourbon, brandy, and dark rum, and it just kept getting better and better the longer it sat in the fridge. Which was a very long time, indeed, as I misjudged how much eggnog 75 people would drink. Not 2 gallons, as it turns out. I finished it on February 8th or so.)

The hit of the party was definitely the Great Pumpkin Punch; I made a double batch of it, and it did indeed render about 6 quarts, and there was absolutely zero left at the end of the party. (In fact, the only reason I got to try the punch-as-served was because my wife set some aside for me.)

It was a lot more work than the "Chinese New Year's Punch," though... for that, I used a relatively cheap sparkling wine at the suggestion of someone at the local Binny's; I can't remember if it was one of the Segura Viudas line, but it well might've been, and it worked just fine for the folks we had.

Edit: I am, coincidentally, drinking eje's Ashtray Heart right now. eje, if you're reading this: thank you.

Chinese New Year's Punch

Peel and Juice 4 Lemons
1 Cup Sugar
16 oz Pomegranate Juice
2 Teaspoons Green Tea
4 Whole Cloves
4 Green Cardamom Pods, crushed
1 Cup Water
1 Bottle Knudsen Sparkling Pomegranate, Chilled
Oranges, sliced for garnish
Ice
Freshly grated nutmeg

Method: Macerate the Lemon Peels in the Sugar until they release their oils. Boil water and combine with tea and spices. Steep for 6 Minutes. Strain hot spiced tea into sugar and peel mixture. Stir to dissolve sugar. Combine strained lemon juice with spiced tea syrup and chill your “Shrub”. Pour Shrub into punch bowl, add Pomegranate Juice. When guests arrive add ice and Sparkling Pomegranate. Garnish with orange wheels. Serve in small cups and dust with freshly grated nutmeg. Add booze to taste, if desired.

Great Pumpkin Punch

1 Bottle Bourbon (Weller 12 Year suggested; Buffalo Trace used)
1 Bottle Cognac (Landy suggested; Jacques A. VSOP used)

1/2 Bottle Batavia Arrack

4 Small-ish Sweet Potatoes, washed and roasted

4 Oranges, Zested.
4 Lemons, Zested

4 Cloves

2 Sticks (Cassia) Cinnamon.
16 oz Water.
1/2 Pound Piloncillo
1/4 Pound Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds), crushed (I didn't roast these, and I wonder if I should've -- if eje's around, maybe he can weigh in)
1 quart Whole Milk (Straus Family Creamery suggested; Oberweis Dairy used)
Method:
 Zest citrus and add zest to Brandy, Bourbon, and Arrack. Juice Oranges and 2 Lemons, strain, and add to aforementioned liquid. Slice Roasted Sweet Potatoes and add to aforementioned liquid. Add Cinnamon and Cloves. Allow to infuse for at least 48 hours. Heat water and add Piloncillo and Pepitas. Simmer below a boil for 10 minutes and refrigerate over night. Carefully strain peels, Potatoes, and Spices out of Liquid, trying not to crush potatoes. Juice other two lemons and add to Flavored Booze Mixture. Heat milk to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Add to Flavored Booze Mixture. Allow to stand undisturbed for 30 minutes and filter through cheesecloth, removing milk solids. Filter Pumpkin Seeds out of Syrup, pressing to remove as much liquid as possible, and combine with Flavored Booze Mixture. Cool and allow to stand for a couple days. Rack liquid off of any accumulated sediment into clean bottles and chill well before serving. Makes about 3 quarts.
Edited by Snark (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You kept egg nog for 6 weeks? If yours had more booze than mine, I can imagine that being okay.

I too noticed a dramatic increase in quality after a weekend in the fridge.

More like 9-11 weeks, overall -- I made the "batter" (see below) roughly a couple weeks before the party, which was on December 13. It has a ton of booze in it, but I was (still) worried, so I reserved a small amount of the batter in a separate container, and I taste-tested it each day leading up to the party. (I also put a large, bold warning sign out in front of the nog at the party.)

But the stuff from December 14 through February 8 had the "fluff" added (since I just dumped the leftovers into sanitized glass milk bottles). A friend took about 32 ounces (again, batter+fluff) home with him, too, and also reported no problems drinking it through the end of January.

We might've been lucky, though. I wouldn't serve the leftovers to guests (unless they absolutely insisted), and of course anyone at particular risk of foodborne illness should avoid this anyhow.

Here's the recipe; I wish I could remember how I came across it. I might've tweaked something(s) I found... I made a double batch for the party.

Ingredients (for roughly 1 gallon)

12 large eggs

4.0 cups good-quality whole milk (I used Oberweis)

2.5 cups good-quality, pasteurized heavy cream* (divided into two portions: 1.0 cups and 1.5 cups)

2.0 cups granulated white sugar

Pinch salt

Whole nutmeg (for grating/garnish)

1 liter bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace)

6 ounces brandy (I used Jacques A. Cognac)

4 ounces dark rum (I think I used Myers's -- this is the one brand specification I'm unsure about, because I didn't have to buy it before the party as I did the other booze for the punches)

*I find I can tell a difference between pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized cream in ice creams I make; I don't know if I could've noticed any difference in this nog, but I didn't take any chances. I suppose, though, that using pasteurized rather than ultra-pasteurized cream may risk decreasing the refrigerated life of the nog still further.

Method for "batter"

Separate egg yolks and whites; store whites in freezer. Mix yolks and sugar by hand or in mixer until smooth. Add milk, 1 cup cream, salt, and booze. Stir. Transfer to clean glass container(s) and refrigerate.

Method for "fluff" (and service)

Remove egg whites from freezer and allow to come to room temperature. Beat room-temperature whites in/with mixer (or, if in need of workout, by hand) to form stiff peaks. Scrape whites into (large!) serving container. Beat 1.5 cups of cream in/with mixer until moderately whipped. Add whipped creams to egg whites in serving container. Remove batter from fridge; if separation has occurred, recombine. Combine batter with fluff gently, using a whisk and/or spatula. Grate nutmeg on top of full volume, and (if desired) over each individual serving.

Edited by Snark (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got two bottles of Eggnog in my fridge from Christmas, based on Jeff Morgenthaler's assertion that he aged his for a year. In seven months I'll either be back to report on the results, or suffering in hospital from severe salmonella. Will let you know either way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...