Despite the urban legend of spiked punch at high school dances—did anyone actually go to a prom where the nerds got wasted unknowingly?—bowls of fruity alcohol have been scarce outside of homes that rely on Junior League cookbooks. 2011, however, is poised to be the year in which the party drink ascends from the buffet table. Just remember that even though one can’t always taste the booze within it, punch still packs, well, a punch.
Thanks to the tiki trend
that’s ushered in a taste of the tropics to metropolises currently blanketed in ice, creative takes on rum punch have been appearing on beverage menus for some time now. And while serving punch in the communal fashion more commonly associated with country club formals is not a revolutionary concept at cocktail bars—Brooklyn’s Clover Club
, for instance, has been bringing friends together over bowls of spirits for a couple of years—might punch bowls be the new bottle service
? Indeed, the latest entrant in the Williamsburg drinking scene, The Drink
, boasts a cocktail menu
comprised almost entirely of aromatic punch bowls. With the $43 bowls containing approximately ten servings, who needs cheap beer anymore?
After depicting the life of Bartender’s Guide
author Jerry Thomas in 2007’s Imbibe
—the Kentucky Derby would just be a bunch of horses and hats without his alchemy
—cocktail historian (and James Beard Foundation award winner) David Wondrich has now chronicled the roots of the humble punch bowl. Punch: The Delights and Dangers of the Flowing Bowl
reaches back to the 17th
century in its mapping of punch’s bawdy beginnings. It turns out that, during punch’s early days, it was the libation of choice among British sailors who drank up not only to stave off thirst, hunger and boredom, but also scurvy. Plus, a recipe for punch jelly
proves that the Jell-O shot did not originate in a frat house.
Vintage Punch Bowl Sets:
As more bars are adding punch options to menus, consumers are looking to serve their own takes on adult Kool-Aid at home. Of course, the current craze is likely to be kicked to the curb alongside cosmos and appletinis eventually, so investing in a silver-plated punch bowl set seems ill-advised. Those who’ve wondered where such gifts go to die need look no further than Etsy. It’s a gold mine of flower power fondue sets, pop art woks
and, of course, suddenly coveted punch bowl sets
. This Auld Lang Syne milk glass set
would have made for a New Year’s Eve night to remember...or, on second thought, maybe a night so convivial that remembrance would be nil.