There’s something about the festive season that seems to bring the ‘fisty-cuffs’ out in the best of us! For starters, we have a whole day called ‘Boxing Day’, and our favourite seasonal drink is ‘punch’!
But contrary to common perception, the name derives from ‘panj’ the Persian word for ‘five’, indicating the five key ingredients that make up a traditional punch; alcohol, lemon, sugar, water and spices (or tea).
Introduced to the UK sometime in the 17th century by Indian sailors, it became a staple in our drinking culture, particularly in the colder seasons.
Today we don’t need much of an excuse for a celebration, with punch being a favourite around Christmas-time especially.
In pubs and bars, it makes a great addition to a winter menu, welcoming guests in from the cold with a warm mug of festive goodness.
In homes, it’s the perfect tipple to share with family and friends, and can be kept on a low heat so you can easily go back for seconds and thirds!
Best of all, punch is a drink best brewed at home, allowing you to tailor it to your palate and create it to your own specifications. For inspiration, here are a few that you can make punch:
English Christmas Punch
Inspired by the original punch that came over many years ago, this recipe stays true to its origins. It’s also one of the few winter punches best served warm.
750ml dry red wine
50ml dark rum
3 cups of brewed tea (any will do)
2 cups of caster sugar
half cup of orange juice
half cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
seasonal fruits (sliced) for garnish
Optional – a bag of berry spices for extra flavour
Gently heat all the ingredients together in a saucepan ensuring they never boil. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, transfer to a punch bowl and add seasonal fruits for extra flavour. Serve warm using a ladle and enjoy with good company!
Apple Prosecco Punch
The perfect answer to all those Christmas parties you’ll be hosting, this easy-to-make punch is always a real crowd pleaser.
400ml cloudy organic apple juice
200ml vodka (vanilla vodka or apple vodka will give your punch added flavour)
the juice of 2 lemons
a sliced apple and lemon
Pour the apple juice, vodka and lemon juice into a large sharing bowl and leave to chill for 1.5 hours. Once guests arrive add the prosecco and garnish with ice and fruit slices.
Winter Pimm’s Punch
Just like summer… but without the sun! Why should Pimms just be reserved for a handful of sunny days every year? This fruity treat is perfect any time of year and lends itself particularly well to the festive period, with all its fragrant spices.
500ml Pimm’s (Blackberry and Elderflower)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1.5 litres of apple juice
sliced orange and apple
Mix ingredients together in a jug and serve in wine glasses, with a side of mince pies!
With all those parcels to deliver, Santa can’t be seen drinking on the job! If the same applies to your guests, this alcohol-free version makes sure they don’t miss out on all the fun.
100ml cranberry juice (low sugar)
600ml of sparkling apple or elderflower juice
500ml blood orange juice
Wedges of lime and orange
Sprigs of mint
Combine all the ingredients in a sharing jug, adding the sprigs of mint and wedges of fruit decoratively throughout. Share with stuffed pigs in blankets for a moreish appetizer!