Punch It Up: Jeff Burkhart Shares His Insider Tips
Punch is having a comeback. It’s easy to make, requires no fancy ingredients, serves a crowd, and gussies up in a flash with fresh fruit or inventively shaped ice.
What is punch?
What makes a great punch?
Start with great ice. Use only water you like to drink to make your ice. Small ice will melt too fast and dilute your punch. Try making a frozen ring using a Bundt pan. Large cubes or spheres are visually attractive.
What do I serve punch in?
Nothing is as retro-cool as a crystal punch bowl and matching crystal ladle, but pitchers are also a great idea. A slotted spoon helps, too.
Here are two of Jeff’s favorite punch recipes for crowd-pleasing drink. Serve in a punch bowl with lowball glasses and well-made ice.
Spiced Blackberry Daisy Bowl
Margarita means daisy in Spanish. The classic daisy is typically made with a spirit, citrus juice, sugar and grenadine.
- 1 750ml bottle Santo Puro Mezquila**
- 10 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
- 8 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
- 4 ounces agave syrup
- ½ cup fresh blackberries
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 limes, ends removed and cut into round wheels
- 2 red Fresno chile peppers, seeded and cut into rounds
- 8 ounces prosecco (or sparkling water)
- 4 ounces good quality crème de cassis or crème de Violette
- 1 basket yellow and violet colored edible flowers (violets and wood sorrel etc.)
- Half fill a large punch bowl with large format ice, or a large ice ring. Add Mezquila, lime juice, orange juice and agave syrup in order but do not mix.
- Gently add all fruit garnishes and chile rounds.
- Right before serving, slowly add prosecco.
- Add cassis, letting it sink to the bottom.
- Garnish with edible flowers.
- To serve, use a slotted spoon to transfer garnishes to serving cups and then a ladle to pour liquid over top.
**Spearheaded by Marin’s own Sammy Hagar, Mezquila is neither tequila nor mezcal, but combines some of the best attributes of both). Tapatio Blanco tequila (imported by Charbay Distillers in Ukiah) is a good substitute for those who don’t like the smoky flavor of mezcal.
Ginger Berry Sangria
King Floyd’s Bar Provisions makes all of their products at their headquarters in Novato.
Batiste is produced in the Caribbean but is finished, aged, and bottled in Napa.
- ½ 750ml bottle Marin County pinot noir (or another light red, like grenache)
- 6 ounces Batiste Gold rhum
- 3 ounces King Floyd’s Ginger Cocktail syrup (made in Novato)
- ½ ounce King Floyd’s cardamom bitters (made in Novato)
- 4 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
- Cinnamon sticks
- Blood orange wheels cut into fourths (wedges)
- Tillen Farms all-natural Bada Bing stemmed cherries
- Sparkling water
- Combine first five ingredients (pinot noir through orange juice) in a serving pitcher and chill in refrigerator until cold.
- To serve, fill each serving glass with large format ice cubes or spheres, garnishing each glass with a cinnamon stick, orange wheel wedge and a cherry. Pour four to six ounces of pitcher mix into each glass (filling glass 3/4’s full) and top with sparkling water. Let your guests be the ones to stir.
Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her child’s school, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.