The name for punch comes from the Hindustani word ‘panch’, meaning five. Sadly, the name does not come from the sensation of feeling as if one has been punched in the face if the drink has been made with enough alcohol to anesthetize a horse. While that would surely make a far more interesting history behind the name, the typical punch recipe has five base ingredients so it makes sense. With national Punch Day coming up this Saturday the 20nd of September, we thought it might be time to get those measuring cups ready and craft some truly delicious drinks because any excuse to make elaborate party drinks is an excuse worth having.

Cranberry-Key Lime Punch

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 to 6 cups chilled club soda
  • ½ cup fresh Key lime juice
  • 1 cup vodka
  • Garnishes: Key lime slices and fresh cranberries

Cook the cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the cranberries begin to ‘pop’ and then pour mixture into a punch bowl or pitcher through a wire-mesh sieve, discarding of any remaining solids. Cool completely (usually an hour) before stirring in the chilled club soda, key lime juice and vodka. Add extra key lime slices and fresh cranberries to garnish.

Sparkling Pear-Brandy Cider

  • 2 cups chilled pear nectar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 2 (750-milliliter) bottles sparkling apple cider, chilled
  • 1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled

Combine pear nectar, honey, apple cider, brandy and chilled club soda. Perhaps add pear slices for a garnish if desired.

Montgomery Punch

  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup brandy
  • Ice Ring
  • 2 (750-milliliter) bottles chilled sparkling wine
  • 1 (375-milliliter) bottle chilled dessert wine (such as Sauternes)
  • Garnishes: orange slices, lemon slices, cranberries

Stir lemon juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add brandy and your chosen sparkling and dessert wines and add the ‘ice ring’. The directions to follow to make that unique, but refreshing ice component can be found here. Potentially add pineapple juice to level out the sweetness of the wines.

Watermelon Cosmo Punch

  • 3 cups vodka
  • 3 cups watermelon puree
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup Simple Syrup
  • Garnish: fresh mint

Combine vodka, watermelon puree, lime juice and syrup into large bowl or pitcher. If feeling adventurous, hollow out a watermelon and use the skin as a punch bowl. Garnish with mint.

Blackberry Mojito Punch

  • 3 cups blueberry-blackberry juice blend
  • 2 (12 ounces) cans frozen mojito mix
  • 2 (1-liter) bottles club soda, chilled
  • 1 ½ cups white rum
  • 3 limes, sliced
  • 1 (12 ounces) package frozen blackberries
  • Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

Mix the juice, club soda, rum and mojito mix with the limes and frozen blackberries. Once in a large punch bowl garnish with mint for a simple and tasty-looking drink. Can be made without rum for an equally delicious virgin punch.

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell

Scorpion Bowl Punch Cocktail

  • 3 cups crushed ice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1 ounce 151 proof rum
  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce grenadine syrup
  • 8 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 10 ounces pineapple juice
  • 3 ounces fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • Garnish: pineapple chunks and maraschino cherries

Place ice in a large pitcher and pour in gin, vodka, various rums, grenadine and fruit juices. Stir and garnish appropriately. Strong, but delicious.
Bionic Beaver Punch

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 12 ounces lager
  • 2 ounces Southern Comfort peach liqueur
  • 2 ounces slow gin
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces grenadine syrup
  • 7-up soda
  • Orange juice

Pour beer and then spirits into large bowl. Top off pitcher with equal measure orange juice and soda.

Closed Caskets and Broken Skulls

  • 1 bottle whisky
  • 1 bottle gin
  • 1 bottle tequila
  • 1 bottle Jägermeister herbal liqueur
  • 1 bottle bourbon whisky
  • 20 gallons Kool-Aid

This is an industrial sized punch. Proportions can be adjusted for size accordingly, but the name is pretty self-evident as to its intentions. Simply combine all the liquors and the mixed Kool-Aid (any flavors) in large container. Not for the faint of heart, this.