Cold Punches

When it comes to punches, five is the magic number.

There are five basic ingredients for a traditional punch – alcohol, spice, sugar, water, fruit – and its name comes from the Hindi word for five, panch.

One of the best-known punches, Sangria, has its origins way back in time in Spain when wine and whatever fruit was available was mixed with a little sweetener. Today its reputation has been damaged by the sweetened watered-down wine served up as Sangria in some tourist resorts. So let’s get it straight: sangria isn’t a way to use up cheap and nasty wine! The predominant taste is that of the wine and if you start off with a bad taste, you’ll end up with a bad taste! So you want to choose a medium to good wine as your base. And allow time for the wine to absorb the flavours of the fruits.

This is a very basic Sangria recipe. You can add brandy, orange liqueur, ginger ale – whatever you have to hand – to vary it.

  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large oranges
  • 2 large lemons
  • 2 medium peaches
  • 1 cup soda

Slice 1 orange and 1 lemon. Squeeze the juice from the other orange and lemon. Peel and stone the peaches, and cut into chunks. Put the fruit slices and juice into a punchbowl with the wine and sugar and mix well. Leave in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to serve, mix in the soda.

Sangria is named from the Spanish for blood, sangre, and is traditionally a rich red colour, but you can have Sangria Blanco (white).

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 bottle sparkling white wine, chilled
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 oranges, cut into wedges
  • 2 apples, cut into wedges

Simmer the water, sugar and cinnamon sticks together for about 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and chill the syrup overnight.

Place the wine, syrup, orange juice and fruit in a punchbowl and mix well. Serve in tall glasses over crushed ice, and garnish with a mint leaf.

In 1908 the New York Times printed this recipe for Planter’s Punch.

This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong –
I know whereof I speak.

Or you might like to try:

  • 6 parts dark rum
  • 3 parts of lemon juice
  • 1 part of grenadine
  • Soda water

To make as a cocktail, shake the rum, lemon juice and grenadine together. Three-quarter fill a highball glass and top with soda water.

As a punch, mix the first three together in a large punchbowl before chilling overnight. Add the soda to taste just before serving. Garnish with orange and lemon slices.

In 2001, a bartender named Voodoo Master created this Caribbean rum punch at a party at the world famous Voodoo Lanai in south Florida.

Voodoo Master’s Rum Punch

  • 2 cartons pineapple juice
  • 1 carton orange juice
  • 1 l light rum
  • ½ bottle coconut rum
  • 6 oz grenadine
  • 32 oz soda water
  • 6-8 dashes angostura bitters

Mix all the ingredients in a large punchbowl. Add about 12 slices of orange and lime and a block of ice.

For a punch that packs one, try this whisky-based concoction.


  • 1 bottle blended whisky
  • 2 pints boiling water
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 3 lemons
  • Some mint leaves

Pare the lemons and squeeze out the juice. Put the rind, sugar, mint leaves and boiling water in a jug and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

When the syrup has cooled, strain into a punchbowl and add the whisky and reserved lemon juice. Chill before serving.

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