Three Irresistible Festive Holiday Punch Recipes to Delight Your Guests

Indulge in the Spirit of the Season with Three Irresistible Festive Holiday Punches

how to host a punchbowl party

A few weeks ago, an invitation arrived in my inbox: “Join us for a Punchbowl Party!” I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. It was from my dear friend Lee, who always knows how to throw an unforgettable party. She’s the kind of friend who can turn a regular gathering into a full-blown extravaganza simply by adding a giant bowl of punch. Yes, you heard me right – a punchbowl party!

Now, you might be wondering, what exactly is a punchbowl party? Well, let me tell you. It’s not just any ordinary shindig. It’s a celebration where everyone gathers around a magnificent punch-filled centerpiece, sipping, chatting, and marveling at the wonders of the punchbowl. At Lee’s house, the atmosphere was electrifying. People were raving about the punch, praising the vintage punchbowl (handed down from her mom), and even using a silver ladle that could be considered an antique. It was clear that Lee’s southern roots had instilled in her a deep appreciation for the art of punches.

Speaking of punches, Lee shared a hilarious anecdote about her mother’s “Artillery Punch,” a drink that was not only potent but also an “acquired taste.” Luckily, Lee discovered the divine Presidential Punch during a visit to New York’s historic Fraunces Tavern, and it was like a miraculous upgrade from her mom’s concoction. Here’s the recipe for your delight:

Presidential Punch – 1 bottle Rye – 1 bottle Orange Curaçao (Lee used Cointreau) – 2 ounces Goslings Dark Rum – 1 ounce Angostura Bitters – Peach tea (same amount as the rye; Lee’s recommendation: Celestial Seasonings) – Fresh lemon and orange slices for garnish

But wait, there’s more! Lee, being the ultimate hostess, had a pitcher of lemonade on standby, allowing guests to personalize their punch, adding a touch of sweetness or a zesty kick.

Now, let’s hear from our lovely angel friend, Odette Williams. She’s a whiz in the kitchen and knows a thing or two about hosting a punchbowl moment. Odette adores keeping things simple and suggests scaling a classic cocktail that you adore. She can’t emphasize this enough – avoid fruit-filled drinks at all costs! “Get that bobbing, soggy fruit outta my punchbowl,” she exclaims. Instead, Odette’s secret to the perfect punch lies in keeping it ice-cold. She recommends using a colossal ice cube made in a Tupperware container, ensuring the punch remains chilled to perfection without losing any of its flavorful potency.

But let’s not forget, dear reader, that punches don’t have to be boozy or chilled to earn the “Punchbowl Party” seal of approval. The talented John deBary, a New York hospitality consultant and the author of two fabulous cocktail books, suggests a delightful warm spiced drink called the MaCallister Wassail. Picture the McCallister family from “Home Alone” enjoying this heartwarming beverage during a frosty Chicago winter:

MaCallister Wassail (from “Saved By the Bellini” by John deBary) – 15 to 20 whole cloves – 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract – 20 cardamom pods – 12 star anise pods – Peels of 3 medium oranges – 4 cups apple cider – 25 dashes Angostura bitters

In a large pan, combine the cloves, scraped vanilla seeds, cardamom, and star anise. Cook until fragrant, filling your kitchen with a heavenly aroma. Add the orange peels, apple cider, and a dash of bitters. Warm it up gently (no boiling allowed!), and ladle it into cozy heatproof mugs. If you prefer using vanilla extract instead of the bean, add it with the cider and bitters for an equally delightful taste.

Dear reader, I must know, do you have a favored holiday punch or festive drink? Don’t be shy; share your secret recipe or beloved libation in the comments below. Let’s raise our glasses together and toast to endless laughter, merriment, and unforgettable punchbowl party memories!

P.S. Need some more party inspiration? Check out “Five things we noticed at Odette’s drinks party,” and discover the unequivocal, undisputed #1 best party snack of all time – no questions asked. Cheers!

Photo by Andrew Cebulka/Stocksy.