I'm going to let you in on one of my top party throwing secrets: Have a champagne punch. You might be thinking they're old-fashioned or fussy but think again. They're actually they're quite hip, and couldn't be easier. They allow your guests to be happily drinking without you having to stand behind the bar all night. For an engagement celebration, bridal shower, or New Year's Eve party, a champagne punch makes everything light, easy, and fun.
And a champagne punch is a way to use a less expensive - or cheap - champagne or to stretch a more expensive one. And though it's called "champagne punch," feel free to substitute any sparkling wine, cava, or prosecco. Depending on the recipe you use, by mixing together fresh fruit, ginger ale, and other liquors or juices, you can put together a large batch quickly, spending less money. One word of warning - though these additions help "dress up" the cheap stuff, they won't completely disguise it. So make sure whatever sparkling wine you use is still something you'd be willing to drink on its own.
Still skeptical? I used to be too. I thought anything in a large crystal bowl was overly sweet, and better fit for a high school dance than a sophisticated soiree. But a few years ago, after reading about the rising and renewed interest thanks to the mixology craze, I revised my opinion and served one at my New Year's Eve party. It was the hit of the party and made everything so much easier. Since then, I've always made sure to pull out my punchbowl for any festive gathering. Along the way I've found some delicious recipes:
- The first is simple champagne punch from Epicurious and was what started me on my craze. It uses unsweetened pineapple juice, brandy, and black raspberry liqueur to add flavor and style to sparkling wine. Because you mix up most of the ingredients beforehand, it lessens the last-minute stress.
- At Christmas time or New Year's it's fun to have a red and green pomegranate champagne punch from Bon Appetit. It uses mint leaves, lemon slices, pomegranate seeds, and pomegranate juice to add color and intrigue. It's so pretty that it doubles as a centerpiece or extra decoration!
- For a simpler version that's awesome for Valentine's Day or any celebration of love, try this bright red Pomegranate Punch from Martha Stewart. It's just pomegranate juice, pear nectar, orange-flavored liqueur, and champagne.
- If you're not a fan of sweet, consider this Italian Spritz Punch from Food and Wine. Italian bitter liqueurs combine with fresh fruit to create a refreshing and unexpected cocktail.
- For something different, consider a spicy alternative, such as this spiced blood orange champagne punch from the SpoonForkBacon blog. Cinnamon and Star Anise combine with blood orange juice to make an awesome drink that's perfect for wintery nights.
Though champagne is the traditional celebration drink, don't feel limited to just these recipes. If you don't like sparkling wines, many other different kinds of cocktail recipes can be mixed in a pitcher, giving you the same convenience and style that these do. How to turn a cocktail into a party punch. And for those non-drinkers, you might like a sparkling and colorful non-alcoholic cranberry punch.
You could even use one of these champagne punch recipes as your signature cocktail. Consider the drink and give it a fun name - for example a red champagne punch could be called "the Blush of Love" or an sparkling drink could be "Bridal Bubbles."
But even if you don't use these drinks as part of your wedding, I hope you'll try them anyway. They're delicious, relatively inexpensive, and a good way to add fresh, modern fun to a party.