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any recipes for an economical alcoholic punch to serve at a party for about 15 people?

I want to do something other than sangria.

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  1. What kind of liquor do you like to drink? What kind of flavors do you enjoy? And what does "economical" mean to you?

    2 Replies
    1. re: davis_sq_pro

      Maybe vodka or whiskey. I guess economical would be under $50

      1. re: sophia519

        I must admit all the "punches" I have made were actually pre-batched versions of cocktails that are normally made individually. So one option would be to pick a cocktail you already like and make a large batch ahead of time for your party, adding about a third of the volume in water to account for chilling it in the refrigerator instead of with ice.

        12 Bottle Bar is a blog I like, and they have a recipe for an interesting sounding whiskey punch with grenadine and hard cider here: http://12bottlebar.com/2010/11/15/pom...

        If you make it with a less expensive whiskey, it should be pretty economical.

        I would also recommend taking a look at Dave Wondrich's recent book Punch if you get a chance, as that seems to be the best reference on the subject.

    2. How about just a spiked lemon/limeade type thing? Maybe add some blood orange juice and slices.

      1. 2 large can pineapple juice + 1 carton (or frozen) pitcher Orange Juice + fresh lime juice + Rum (1/2 dark and 1/2 light or whatever you have but probably not all dark).

        I can offer you no portion suggestions, because it's up to you (I like lots of rum!)

        Just keep tasting and serve over ice.

        If you have a nice display, float thinly sliced oranges.

        Vodka Alternative

        2 large cartons Fancy Lemonade (or make own) + 7UP/Sprite (add before serving) + Booze (could also use Jack Daniels + triple sec instead of vodka for Lynchburg Lemonade.) Serve over ice in mason jars.....

        1. I have had success with the one in this thread by MC Slim JB. My only alteration was to add simple syrup. The better your ingredients the better the punch so fresh squeezed lime juice and homemade grenadine were tactics that brought the quality level up.

          I just used light and and gold rum though


          1. I actually was just going to post this same question, but Sophia beat me to it. I'd love help also!

            I have a vodka and I have an interesting bottle of cherry-pomegranate juice that I wanted to make a batch of cocktails with, but wasn't sure of porportions and/or if I should add anything to it to make it "fizzy". Lime? Adornments to it?

            I'll have probably around 15 people to serve, but will also have out beer and and wine, so I wanted to have a pre-made cocktail to go as well.

            I'd be grateful for any vodka ideas, and especially any where I might be able to use this juice (granted, the bottle is only 64 oz. so wouldn't last all that long...)

            6 Replies
            1. re: Tehama

              Unless you've already bought the vodka, I'd use a spirit with flavor. Maybe cachaca or rum, lime, your juice and some mint. You could pre-mix it in a pitcher and simply pour it over ice at service time. I'd start with (per serving):

              2 oz Cachaca or light flavorful rum
              1 1/2 oz Pom/cherry juice
              1/2 oz lime juice (adjust to balance pom/cherry juice)
              1 dash Bittermens Mole bitters (totally optional, but I bet it would be good)
              1 sprig mint (lightly muddled)

              If you are looking for a highball-type cocktail, I'd add a couple of ounces of seltzer (at service time).

              www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

              1. re: EvergreenDan

                Hi Dan! Thank you so much! I do have a nice, hefty bottle of vodka I was going to use, but sounds like rum would be much tastier. I noted you said "flavorful rum." I am no mixologist, so please forgive me if this sounds absolutely crazy, but do you mean something like Malibu? A friend gave me a bottle which I have yet to open.

                What an awesome drink you concocted - thank you so much for the suggestion!

                1. re: Tehama

                  God no. Poor choice of words. Not a flavored rum, but a white rum with lots of nice flavor. Not something like regular Bacardi, but maybe Cruzan or Brugal or Flor de Cana or Appleton.

                  Also, in thinking about it, regular Angostura bitters would be fine if Bittermens.Xocolatl Mole bitters isn't available. We are blessed here in Boston. Several liquor stores are stocking the Bittermens line, in addition to The Boston Shaker which is nearly walking distance from my house.

                  Be sure the lime juice is fresh.

                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                    Thanks a million! I'm afraid the extent of my bartending repetoire is limited to vodka tonics! Though I am a fan of the Cranberry Champagne Cocktail on Epicurious when I am feeling 'confident' in my mixing.

                    I so appreciate your advice!

                    1. re: Tehama

                      This group is very helpful with expanding that repertoire. ;) Just let us know some likes, and so forth....

                2. re: EvergreenDan

                  Dan: I have taken a beating here! At least give me credit for introducing a "gin" drink .... LOL

                  Obviously, real citrus juice and/or bitters would be better, but the call of the question seemed to suggest easy/economical.

              2. Cranberry punch is easy, and can be as economical as you want depending on the vodka you choose. it can also be swapped with raspberry or another fruit if you choose.

                1 bottle vodka
                24 oz cranberry puree
                8 oz lime juice
                orange zest
                soda water - if you want fizz

                1. Here's my two cents worth [and this is a common tailgating drink here in the Upper Midwest]:


                  13 Replies
                  1. re: hawkeyeui93

                    Gin and Fresca. "1/2 gallon of Gin and 4 liters of Fresca .... [citrus] ... Serves 4-12".

                    No thanks, on several levels.

                    1. re: EvergreenDan

                      Don't knock it until you try it .... Judge much? LOL

                      It seems to meet the call of the questions, which was something "economical" that one could serve a large group.

                      1. re: hawkeyeui93

                        I think part of Dan's point was that drinking the equivalent of 3-10 servings of punch per person is a bit excessive. The other part is that Chowhound exists to find food and drink that are much better than average, and throwing a whole lot of booze and soda together probably doesn't qualify.

                        I mean, you linked to a page that suggests you might want to have a challenge and see if you can drink an entire bottle of gin by yourself. Or you might want to drink out of a turkey baster. So you can understand if it sounds more like a college "trash can" punch than fine drinking.

                        1. re: nickls

                          That is why my post has a caveat, to wit " .... this is a common tailgating drink here in the Upper Midwest." I would certainly recommend doing the adult version of this drink instead [Gin Buck] with real citrus juice. Certainly, I try not to serve up an economical alcoholic punch with flavorless vodka to people I like.

                          1. re: hawkeyeui93

                            Do you generally serve drinks to people you don't like? :-)

                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                              Well, does family count? Just kidding ....

                      2. re: EvergreenDan

                        C'mon. Tequila and Fresca is good, especially if you add Campari. Best drink ever? No. Great patio drink for a crowd? Why not?

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          What exactly is Fresca? I remember having it as a kid. Is it 7-Up ish? More lemon-y? More sugary? Although more sugary than 7 Up might be an impossible feat.

                          I do like the idea of a 3-ingredient punch for a crowd. What would the ratios be? Maybe I could smarten it up by replacing the Fresca with a Fever-Tree bitter lemon?

                          1. re: isadorasmama

                            Fresca is a diet artificially sweetened grapefruit soda. Interestingly, the Mexican version is not artificially sweetened. The US version has a nasty aspartame aftertaste.


                            Bitter lemon would be a who different thing... For the better IMO, although in general I'm not a fan of soda pop in my cocktails because I think better flavors can come from liqueurs and fresh ingredients.

                            1. re: EvergreenDan

                              Yes! Grapefruit. Now I remember.
                              Yeah, I hear you. I rarely use soda in drinks. Totally agree you can get better flavors in other ways.

                              1. re: isadorasmama

                                While fresh juices are obviously better, Fresca is just fine when I'm feeling lazy. Also, I like diet soda, chemicals and all, so that aspect doesn't bother me.

                            2. re: isadorasmama

                              If you want a great grapefruit soda, look no further than Ting, from Jamaica. It uses real grapefruit, cane sugar, is not too sweet, and is extremely tasty.

                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                Hansen's grapefruit soda is also really good, and I can usually find it easier than Ting. I have found it at TJ's, Whole Foods and sometimes in the natural foods section of more mainstream grocery stores.

                      3. Though I am very anxious to try Evergreen Dan's suggestion to me real soon, I ended up fixing the Cranberry-Vodka Punch from Epicurious. I will give it a definite thumbs-up; and I suppose my guests would, too, because it was gone in a flash. I liked it, especially, because the spices in it gave it a distinct taste that set it apart from other mixed beverages.


                        This is a killer good vodka cocktail. It is a recipe you can play around with ... you don't have to stick exactly to the recipe to have a swell, refreshing cocktail to serve your guests. For instance, don't waste your Grey Goose on this ... buy Smirnoff or Pinacle, etc. I actually used cherry-pomegranate juice instead of cranberry juice (just because I had it on-hand and didn't want to buy more). And, you will see there are spices in the drink. Instead of the three listed, I used 1/4 teaspoon of "pumpkin pie spice" because it is an amalgamation of the three (cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg) listed. If I were you, I would make about 3 or more hours before you plan on serving so it can get nice and cold, and the flavors will have time to swim around with one another and make it taste real good! This is a perfect cocktail year round - though I can see if being especially perfect with winter holiday meals - however, it tastes awesome in August, too! It is a little "cloudy," though that may have been from me using cherry-pomegranate juice instead of cranberry juice, thought I can't imagine that would have been too different. Anyway - highly recommended!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Tehama

                          Tehama: Interesting you mention Smirnoff Vodka because it beat out Ketel One and Grey Goose in a 2005 blind taste test conducted by The New York Times.

                          1. re: hawkeyeui93

                            Very interesting! Thank you! I actually prefer Ketel One over Grey Goose, but haven't sipped on Smirnoff straight in a long time. I'm going to have to give it a try. Thank you so much for the info. I did try a couple of Smirnoff's flavored vodkas at a friend's house earlier this summer and being impressed with them. I see a trip to the ABC store in my future today.

                            1. re: Tehama

                              Not a fan of vodka, but I picked up a bottle of Sobieski the other day on sale for $10, on the recommendation of several people here.

                              Out of curiosity - and because I just love to do comparisons - I blind tasted them side-by-side.

                              Though both of them seem quite good (for vodka) Smirnoff comes a little closer to the ideal of complete neutrality. The Sobieski has a mild flavor, not unpleasant, maybe because it is made from rye which is quite flavorful to begin with? The Smirnoff just tastes like water next to it.

                              1. re: ncyankee101

                                I pulled up that NY Times article that Hawkeye referenced and emailed it to my Dad so he could completely rub it in my face for being "pretentious" and doubting his faith in Smirnoff all these years with my allegiance to Kettle One. Who has mud on face now? Me. hahaha.

                                I had been keeping Sobieski on hand for mixed cocktails, and had always been real happy with it (while saving my K.O. for martinis or iced vodka); I believe there will be a change in my liquor pantry when this bottle nears its end!

                        2. Below is a recipe of Mount Gay spokesman Chesterfield Browne's invention. This may seem like a good amount of ingredients, but all are easy to find/make.

                          4 oz Lime Juice
                          1 oz Angostura Bitters
                          1 1/2 oz Grenadine Syrup
                          19 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Rum (or Appleton Estate, Cruzan, whathaveyou)
                          13 oz Simple syrup
                          1 tsp Nutmeg (optional)
                          18 oz Water

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: SpokaneFoodLover

                            That's a huge amount of sugar for the amount of lime. Just saying....

                            1. re: EvergreenDan

                              Here's a video where you can watch him make it:


                              You can see him measure and pour the simple syrup right around the 5:30 mark. He does four pours and counts out "4, 8, 12, 16." But I think he states double the amount that's actually used--he's using, if I'm not mistaken, a 2oz OXO measure. And 8oz would be just about right given 4oz of lime juice.

                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                DSP -- I think you are right. I don't think there is a 4 oz OXO cup and my 8oz cup has a handle so it looks obviously different. The listed ingredients don't quite jibe elsewhere, too. For example, he says 16oz of water put it's listed as 18oz. I'm also not wild about the unmeasured lime juice, and that grenadine sure looks like the florescent kind.

                                I bet Robert would have made it slightly differently... ;)