Punch and Duty

(The Sterling Punch Bowl from the USS North Carolina via Replacements.com)

The Sterling Punch Bowl from the USS North Carolina via Replacements.com

I’ve always felt it my duty as host to provide substantial quantities of drink to my guests. Much rather have too much than too little and have to live with those accusatory stares and clinking of ice cubes in empty glasses.

But the times call for a modicum of financial restraint. Our New Year’s Eve (anniversary) party will still go on, but without help to mix drinks and pass the hors d’oeuvres. It’ll be “summer rules” at the bar and I will rely on the kindness of a couple of our guests to help me keep the champagne glasses filled for the 80 or so of our friends. That’s a lot of bubble.

How do you feel about punch?

Back in the ivy-covered days, “champagne” punch was a staple at my New Year’s Eve parties. I use the term “champagne,” but it really wasn’t. We couldn’t really get champagne inexpensive enough for me to serve and good enough to drink. This was in the days before cava was widely available. New York State “champagne” was the base for my punch. Good old Great Western. Nobody seemed to mind too much. Under the Sauterne, lemon sherbert and frozen orange juice ring who could tell?

My tastes have changed a bit, and thankfully, so have the budgets for the festivities. But I wonder if serving a proper punch might not be such a bad idea? Would you?

1 part Scotch
1 part gin
2 parts champagne
ice cubes

* from Kingsley Amis’ Everyday Drinking, this punch is a translation into booze of the lyrics of a Cab Calloway song that was popular in the 30’s. The drink was apparently a bit hit at Oxford during those halcyon days.

Bombay Punch (from The Savoy Cocktail Book)
1 quart Brandy
1 quart Sherry
1/4 pint Maraschino
1/4 pint Orange Curaçao
4 quarts Champagne
2 quarts carbonated water.

Stir gently. Surround Punch Bowl with cracked ice and decorate with fruits in season.

I think I’ll stick to whiskey, neat, Martinis, dry, and crèmant, Brut. But only because I lack a magnificent sterling silver punch bowl like the one above.

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