punch party

With New Year's Eve right around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to whip up a batch of punch. I love serving punch at parties. It's a great way to serve a fun cocktail without having to play bartender all night. To really up the cute factor, try searching your local thrift store (or grandma's cabinets) for a vintage punch bowl. I recently scored one- with 12 matching cups- for only $10! 

If you really want to take your punch to the next level, try making your own decorative ice block. Not only will it look fancy, the block will melt more slowly than ice cubes and keep your punch from getting watery. Making an ice block is super easy. The hardest part is remembering to make it the day before your party, so it has time to freeze overnight.

Click below for the how-to:

 Step 1: Find a small bowl to use as a mold for the ice block. If you want to get extra super fancy, you can use a Bundt pan or something in a fun shape, but make sure it will fit inside your punch bowl first! Then its time to add a little pizazz to your ice. I used citrus slices to line my bowl, but you can use berries, herbs, edible flowers- the sky is the limit here.

Step 2: Fill the mold with ice cubes to hold your fruit in place. If you just fill the bowl with water, all the fruit will float and you will only have fruit on the bottom of your mold (trust me, not so pretty).

Step 3: Now slowly fill with water and carefully place in the freezer. Let freeze overnight.

Step 4: When you're ready to use your ice block, remove from freezer and invert into punch bowl. If it doesn't release from the mold on its own, run it under warm water for a minute or two. Then fill your bowl with punch and let the party begin!

James Beard's Champagne Punch is a classic, without too many tricky ingredients. I'm also a big fan of the book Punch Parties by Ben Reed.

Happy New Year!

[punch photo from Bon Appetit]

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