Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

How To
How to Make an Easy Punch That Will Impress Everyone at Your Party

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A party host should never have to make cocktails. Making cocktails requires time and concentration, two things that distract from the host’s most important duty: delighting guests.

There are a few solutions to this problem: Beer and wine are easy, of course. You can make certain cocktails like Margaritas and Negronis in batches, or throw together a Sangria. But nothing stuns and warms a person’s soul when they enter your home quite like a beautiful, boozy punch.

Recipes for punches can often seem taxing, but they don’t have to be. When broken down, the beverage essentially needs ice, water, citrus, sugar and alcohol, plus a little garnish and color for visual stimulation. There’s a decent chance you already have all the ingredients lying around. You don’t even need to bother with cooking a syrup on the stove if you don’t feel like it (more on that below). No one will notice. Really.

What really makes the difference is what most people think about the least: the ice. A proper punch should have a massive hunk of ice bobbing in it—the kind you’ve likely seen when ordering one at a nice cocktail bar. And creating that iceberg is shockingly painless at home. Meredith Hayman, the bar manager at Michael’s in Santa Monica, California, loves to fill up a bundt cake tin with water and freeze it to create a circular ‘berg with a stylish design to boot. But you can “use any kind of pan or casserole dish” or even a metal bowl, she says.

There’s something about a giant piece of ice that just gets people excited. (Those speakeasy-style bars are onto something, after all.) But there’s also science behind it. The larger the ice, the less surface area, which means it will melt more slowly and, therefore, dilute an appropriately party-sized punch over a longer period of time. It makes watery Jungle Juice a thing of hazy memories.

You can upgrade your ice even more by layering it with fruit or herbs (be careful with the latter, however, since they can wilt and turn color easily). The trick is to freeze half your pan or bowl with water, then add your accoutrements, and fill the rest of the way for freezing. Overnight, you’ll have a punch with strawberries, raspberries and blackberries suspended in ice, and friends will be comparing you to Marie Antoinette—in a good way.

Here are two recipes for creating festive, decorative punches that also taste damn delicious, along with instructions for creating a show-stopping iceberg. The first punch is as simple as possible and highly customizable. The second, from Hayman, is a slightly more sophisticated concoction laced with vanilla and lavender that requires only a bit more time. Both will earn you instant karma among your party attendees.

Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

How to Make an Iceberg with Suspended Berries

What You’ll Need:
Water
Berries
Bundt pan (or other pan/tin/bowl)

How to Put It Together:
Fill bundt pan halfway with water and put in the freezer.
Once frozen, add berries and fill the rest of the way with water.
Freeze completely. Berries will be suspended in the ice.

Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

The Essentials

brandy
liqueur (such as orange, apricot or peach)
Champagne or Sparkling Wine, chilled
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

The Essentials

Lemon-Lavender Syrup
Gin or Vodka
sparkling wine

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