Holiday Entertaining? Kickoff with Boozy Punch

Right now, all around the world, people are sharing recipes for the holidays. Making baked goods for friends and family. Bringing casseroles to potlucks. Creating homemade gifts for loved ones. There are so many opportunities to get together with friends during the month of December. If you are the host, there is always the question, “What the hell will I serve?” When it comes to food, you usually have a plan – I hope – but when it comes to drinks many people are left baffled. How much to buy and what to serve are always tricky. I typically have beer on tap because John brews at home and we have a kegerator (honestly), but I also have a self-serve bar and a premixed cocktail in a punch bowl to get the spirits flowing.

To help you out with some answers, here are a few guidelines, a recipe and a few tips from Aunt LeAnne:

  • 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per hour per adult guest is about right. I plan on more JUST IN CASE. Remember, not everyone will imbibe because someone has to be the driver.
  • Keep the drinks separate from the food or everyone will be congregating in the same area. You want people to mill about and chat with folks they don’t know.
  • Only put in view booze you are willing to part with. For example, DO NOT put the $100 bottle of scotch on display unless you are prepared to serve it or have someone bastardize it with soda or worse.
  • Find a fun bucket, tub or other large receptacle to hold ice, beer and sodas. In the summer use a small baby pool, in the winter, find a galvanized or tin tub and place it outside on the patio.
  • Keep soft drinks and alcoholic drinks separate, that way you can monitor minors who might be trying to drink booze on the sly. (Moment of Truth – I think the 21 drinking age is bull shit. If you can vote and serve in the military at age 18, you should be allowed to buy a beer.)
  • If someone is already loaded, offer them soda, water or coffee so they don’t embarrass themselves or you. I have had to politely cut folks off. Yes, really.
  • A premixed cocktail or punch bowl is always a good option. Guests don’t have to mix their own and it takes some stress off YOU because it can be made the night before or earlier in the day depending on the ingredients. Check here for some summery options.

Recently I attended an It’s On Me cocktail party at the Velveteen Rabbit and had a TERRIFIC cocktail called the Bronze Bell. After chatting with the bar tender and getting the ratios on their version, I created THIS punch bowl version for a crowd with some of the same ingredients. A punch bowl traditionally was nearly all booze; however, I find incorporating non-alcoholic elements is the way to go.  Enjoy!

Bronze Bell-ish Boozy Punch

Here are the cocktail basics for the punch

Here are the cocktail basics for the punch

Makes 1 gallon, serves 32 – 4 oz portions

4 C Bulleit Rye

2 C freshly squeezed lemon juice (DO NOT sub with that shit from the green jar)

2 C Aperol

2 Tbsp pure maple syrup more or less to taste (organic if you can find it)

Several shakes of Cherry Bitters to taste

2 C club soda or seltzer

2 C 7-up or Sprite

Combine all ingredients except the sodas, mix well and put in the fridge to chill. I chill overnight. At this point you can serve it as is and it will be a boozy cocktail. My sister in law prefers it this way.

To serve – My punch bowl will only hold ½ gallon at a time with an ice ring, so…measure 2 C of the boozy mixture into the bowl and top with 1 C each of the sodas.

An ice ring made with a ring mold of your choosing is a huge plus. I slice a lemon and put that in the water before freezing just to be pretty. An Ice ring keeps the punch cold without diluting it too much and saves you from having to have an ice bucket nearby.

Sometimes you are the host, sometimes you are the invited guest. If you are a regular reader, you have seen the blogs below, but always a good reminder. If you are a first time reader, welcome! Check out the links below.

How to be a good guest during the festivities

Thoughts on RSVPing