The Friday Tipple: Garden Party Punch

Garden Party Punch

We’re a bit punchy, Boozers. What with a coming increase in weddings for all, we think making drinks for a crowd may become a fixture for summertime brides and grooms, and this makes us want to whip up a bowl of punch. Punch can be a terrible throwback of sickly-sweet sherbet floating in a sea of ginger ale spiked with cheap champagne, but it need not be so. A good punch can be the centerpiece of a celebratory garden party, brimming over with fresh flavors and enough liquor to loosen up Uncle Frank when the band strikes up to play.

Our Garden Party Punch is a play on a classic gin and tonic, amped up with limoncello. By freezing the tonic water into a mold, you create a nice way to chill the punch, but it also serves to subtly alter the flavor as it melts and quietly dilute what is, admittedly, a strong brew – which you’ll be grateful for as the evening wears on. Cheers!

Garden Party Punch

Ingredients are key to this libation – look for a flavorful and good quality tonic water, such as Fentiman’s or a classic Schweppes, and a simple clean limoncello; we’re fortunate to have an excellent local variety, Don Ciccio & Figli, but check your area for craft limoncello – or make it yourself for a personal touch. Chilling all the ingredients beforehand insures that the tonic mold won’t melt too quickly.

For the punch:

1 bottle chilled gin (go for something with an herbaceous bite, like Catoctin Creek)
8 ounces chilled limoncello
1 quart chilled club soda (have an extra chilled quart on hand to adjust flavor)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup lavender honey
handful clean mint leaves
One lemon, thinly sliced

Mix together club soda, lemon juice, honey, and mint – put back in soda bottle, cap tightly, and chill for one hour. After an hour, put all ingredients in a punch bowl, stir well, add frozen tonic mold and garnish with lemon slices. Serve immediately.

Frozen tonic mold:

1 quart tonic water
1/4 cup lemon juice
Several fresh mint leaves

Put all ingredients in a small bundt cake mold and freeze solid overnight. Unmold just before serving by dipping the mold in a bowl of hot tap water.

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