party punch

Hello! I'm just back from a fantastic trip to Boston. More about that another day, because I've been needing to write down the recipe for the most delicious punch I made for a party we had a couple weekends ago. It was a party with a bit of an identity crisis: part housewarming, part birthday party, part holiday party. It was mostly a housewarming; we hadn't yet had a chance to have a big hurrah in the new place, and my 30th birthday seemed like a good reason to celebrate (although I'd already had a night out on the town as well as a trip to Sonoma, but when you turn 30 you have to do it up, right?). Whatever kind of party it was, it was a lot of fun. We're so lucky to have met so many wonderful people in Denver in such a short time.

So yes, punch. A week or so before the party I sent an email to my friend Rob, a cocktail connoisseur, asking for suggestions for a punch recipe. Rob knows these things. I was thinking I wanted to make one with vodka or rum, since those seem to be spirits that the masses enjoy. But Rob made a good pitch for using some rye whiskey, and I had to admit, it sounded amazing. Thanks to his guidance, this punch was a smashing success. People who claimed they hated whiskey were enjoying it. Barely any of our wine was consumed. It was all about punch. We made several batches, and it wasn't even an extraordinarily boisterous evening.

You must have some festive gathering coming up in the next few weeks, no? I've heard there's a few big holidays. This punch is an easy way to please the crowd. I'm going to try out something different for Christmas, but this punch is definitely going to play a role in many of my future parties.

Party Punch

2 bottles Champagne or other sparkling wine (1.5L total)
10 oz. rye whiskey (we used Old Overholt)
8 oz. strawberry syrup
4 oz. simple syrup
juice from one lemon
Ice ring

Night before party: Freeze water in a bundt pan or other awesome pan. Add fruit if you'd like for decoration.

Morning of the party: Make strawberry syrup. Put 1 cup of quartered strawberries in a heat-proof bowl. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 cup of water. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour hot syrup over the strawberries and let sit for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Thirty minutes before the party: Place ice ring in punch bowl (or other large bowl, no one really focuses on the bowl!). Add whiskey, strawberry syrup, lemon juice, simple syrup, and some strawberries to garnish.

As soon as your first guest arrives: Pop the champagne and pour it into the bowl. Ladle into glasses of your choice!