Party Pleasing Punch

by Chiara Licari 

Used to celebrate many-a-festivity, punch has a history dating back to the 1600s. From the freshly cut apple slices to the glass held during small banter, punch has a provenance that most don’t think twice about. Poured from the ladle or tapped from a drink dispenser with a spigot, it is one indulgence to include in the merriment of the season. Here are three considerations when planning your jubilant potion.


Nothing says holidays like homemade. Keep it simple and fresh. Key components usually consist of juice, something bubbly and alcohol (optional).

Stephanie Weesies is a bartender and manager at Johnny B’z with almost 13 years in the industry. She suggests flavoring a spirit of choice to complement your punch by making an infusion.

“Place fruit, or even bacon, candy or spices in the liquor and let it sit for a couple of days or weeks, depending on the ingredient,” Weesies said. “The spirit will take on the flavor of the additive and give a much fresher taste than flavored liquor.” Strain the ingredients out of the bottle, and it is ready to use.

Some mixtures include apple cider, ginger ale and spiced rum. Others combine traditional cranberry, lemon-lime juice and vodka. Champagne or a bubbly white wine can top off the concoction for an added celebratory feel.

Dessert recipes may be more luscious with a thicker consistency. Made with chocolate ice cream, coffee and Kahlua, an after-meal punch can be served to satisfy any sweet tooth’s craving. Picking up a vegan ice cream from Downtown Market’s Love’s Ice Cream can keep a variety of guests grateful from greetings to dessert.


Although weaker than your extra dry martini with blue cheese olives, punch is not strictly tied down to a Saturday afternoon tailgate or a formal gala scene.  Ranging from history’s marble bowls to today’s contemporary glass dispensers, the presentation of punch has taken on many forms and will create any ambiance you’d like.

Similar to wine, a serving of punch is five ounces, often poured into a tulip glass or punch cup. It can be served with ice or lined with cubes surrounding the container to prevent dilution. For a centerpiece that satisfies, traditional punch bowls can accommodate a frozen punch ice ring. See instructions in the recipe below.

“Use frozen fruit to garnish the punch. It will keep the mixture cool without watering it down,” Weesies advised. She also suggests using a drink dispenser with a spigot (available at Rylee’s Ace in the housewares department). Guests can help themselves and the chance of a mishap is significantly reduced.

Finishing Touches

Adding that tasteful aesthetic to a drink finishes it off elegantly, and punch is no exception. General Manager of Donkey Taqueria Brad Sherred describes that you’re trying to add the essence of taste, smell, décor or all three to your drink.

To accommodate all palates, set different garnish options alongside the large bowl and have your guests choose between a few complimentary additions. Browse Martha’s Vineyard for a variety of mouthwatering options. Selecting the perfect garnishes goes a long way to bring out festive flavors and make the party scene that much more cheerful.

Holiday Punch Ice Ring


An ice ring with colorful citrus fruit slices and pomegranate seeds adds a festive touch to the holiday punch bowl. Add your favorite punch recipe.

3 medium oranges, cut into thin slices

3  lemons, cut into thin slices

3  limes, cut into thin slices

1  cup pomegranate seeds

3  tablespoons rum extract

4  teaspoons pure orange extract

Arrange orange, lemon and lime slices in layers in 6-cup glass bowl, slightly overlapping the fruit slices in each layer. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds, rum flavor and orange extract throughout the layers. Pour enough water into bowl to almost reach top of bowl.

Freeze overnight or until ice ring is frozen.

To unmold ice ring, dip bowl into hot tap water. Unmold ice ring and place in 4-quart punch bowl.

Chiara Licari

Chiara Licari is a GVSU student trying to venture out to Grand Rapids and get a taste of the writing life. 





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