A bowl of punch turns a backyard of rugged individualists into a group with a mission, says cocktail expert David Wondrich, who has written a book, Punch, on the subject.
Wondrich serves his in small glasses so that guests "have to go back for frequent refills", he said, "and every time they do, a new conversation starts."
It also provides convenience for the host.
When you are expecting a yard of guests it's nice not to have to play bartender, too.
Fruit, spice rum, gin and even white wine evoke summer as a centrepiece drink served in a gleaming chilled bowl.
You can prepare the punch in advance and add ice at the last minute.
Makes 16 servings of 180ml
- 480ml (2 cups) gin
- 480ml (2 cups) Campari
- 480ml (2 cups) white vermouth
- 1.4l (6 cups freshly squeezed
- grapefruit juice (juice of 5 fruits)
- Sliced cucumber and orange, or other citrus, for garnish
- In a large glass container, combine all the liquids; stir gently.
- Float some of the wheels of cucumber and oranges on the punch.
- Ladle punch into rocks glasses filled with ice, and garnish with cucumber and orange.
Makes 20, 90ml drinks
- 4 lemons
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 480 ml (2 cups) jenever (or craft gin)
- 480 ml (2 cups) chilled German (or other) riesling, not too sweet
- 480 ml (2 cups) chilled sparkling
- Nutmeg for garnishing
- Make the shrub: peel lemons with a vegetable peeler, avoiding pith. Juice lemons and set juice aside.
- Place peels and sugar into a Mason jar, seal and shake.
- Leave jar in the sun for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
- Add reserved lemon juice and shake until sugar is dissolved.
- Will keep for several days refrigerated.
- In a large bowl or jug, combine shrub (peels and all) with all the liquids. Stir gently.
- Add a 950 ml block of ice (made by freezing a container of water overnight).
- Grate nutmeg on top and ladle into small serving glasses.