Feeling Punchy

When I think of spiked party punch, I think of:

  • Swingin’ retro parties in the 60s
  • Punch at bars starting their comeback in 2011 (that’s when I noticed, may have been earlier)
  • Non-spiked version we always served at sorority stuff (Hawaiian punch, sherbet and sprite?)
  • Hunch punch served from a hotel bathtub (gag) in Panama City

I love entertaining, but I hate creating individual cocktails for each person because then I’m trapped at the kitchen counter all night vs. hanging with my friends. I’m a big fan of a super friendly help yourself bar spread for custom drinks (with recipes, garnishes and mixers at the ready) OR anything served in a pitcher or pretty glass beverage dispenser.

At our housewarming party 5 years ago, we served Chick-fli-a lemonade (yes, you can buy gallons of it) and KettleOne Lemonade. I did pre-spike some, and then spent way too much energy telling people which one had booze and which one didn’t. Noted: always clearly label so you don’t have to hover by the drinks.

My sweet friend Whitney sent me a page from Real Simple late last year featuring some tasty punches. By sent, I mean in the mail with a note. Whitney is SO good at doing this. Consider buying a cute box of cards with a book of stamps and sending a note via snail mail to your friend vs email soon. It’s super nice to get non-bill mail. Back to the recipes… The grapefruit mint one called to me – St. Germain? Yes, please! 

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I’ve made it 2x now and am a big fan. Tracking down fresh mint can be a pain in the ass (Whole Foods did NOT have it the last time I went for this) – but the rest is pretty easy. (I DID get this herb garden from my foodie gift guide for xmas, so hopefully I’ll be farming my own mint soon).

I do recommend slicing the grapefruit and washing/breaking up the mint pre-party and keeping in a tupperware dish. You have to make it look super easy once guests are in the house, right? “What? You DON’T always have fresh mint on hand?” (after I went to 2 stores to track it down).

I also recommend displaying the contents of the punch around the bowl – while I love talking about how I made it I don’t want anyone to be surprised that it’s teaming with sparkling wine and St. Germain in case they are avoiding booze (why??) or love/hate one of the ingredients. I didn’t put the grapefruit juice out, because I think the slices told that story.

Not in the mood to create a trough of punch for your evening cocktail? Well, I’ve got good news for you. I wasn’t sure I was going to have an acceptable opportunity to make a huge bowl of punch, so I popped by a local bottle shop (Holeman & Finch Bottle Shop) with the recipe and asked their super keen staff to recreate the punch recipe as a cocktail. I was prepared to beg, and I didn’t have to. They just needed a minute and were glad to help. I also asked amateur questions they answered: me – “Do I HAVE to use fresh mint?” response: “YES, can’t short cut that.” good to know.

It’s a super fresh and fun cocktail. I think the combo of mint and grapefruit elevates it beyond college drinking. Could be a cute gift to give St. Germain (it’s $30 for the bottle I bought) with a bottle of sparkling and the recipe (100 points for handwriting it) for a friend’s bday. 

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