kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

A Punch-Worthy Vessel

With all this talk lately about how punch is in vogue again, I'm planning on whipping up a batch for our next dinner club. It is, after all, perfect for these economically challenging times, as making it typically doesn't involve expensive ingredients or laborious preparation.

While I have amassed lots of great recipes recently from mixologists, I don't have a punch set.

When looking for kitchen, dining or barware basics, I often turn first to Crate and Barrel (they were the source for the dizzy cocktail glasses I blogged about last year, and some great simple square appetizer plates I recently bought). For $39.95, they offer a complete punch set for eight. Although it's chic right now to dust off the antique punch bowls and cups, C&B's clean, simple design really speaks to my decorating and entertaining style. The set includes a glass bowl, eight cups and (smartly) an acrylic ladle.

Starting a cocktail or dinner party with punch means that all the prep work is on the front end--freeze water in a loaf pan along with fruit slices, mix up the punch, add the ice block and let guests help themselves.

Justin Guthrie at DC's Blue Ridge recognizes the beauty and simplicity of this communal concoction. At Blue Ridge, punch will be sold by the bowlful for $40, with floating fruit-filled ice blocks to keep it cold, and as many cups as requested. He'll continue to offer different punches, which will change seasonally.

In these uncertain times, punch--that stylishly garnished liquid recipe stretcher--is both delicious and economically feasible. At your next party, ladle it up for your guests.