When was the last time you attended a party where punch was served? Today, it seems that most punch serving and imbibing occurs during Christmas when no holiday party is complete without a bowl of eggnog or milk punch. Traditionally, non-alcoholic punch was served at ladies' teas and showers. I recall on more than one occasion attending daytime parties where Lime Sherbet Punch was served. (Do you remember Lime Sherbet Punch? I bet many of you do.) To this day, I like the taste of that green-hued punch, although the frothy film that settled on top always bothered me.
I found these punch-y photos in a 1934 House Beautiful. Funny enough, the article's author wrote, "It's a long time since anyone has given a great deal of thought to punch. But now that the ingredients for those fine and mysterious concoctions are available again, there seems every reason why punch should regain its old popularity as a festive accompaniment to festive occasions." Ah, yes, that pesky Prohibition seemed to have put a damper on things. I do agree with the author's sentiments, though, that punch should once again regain its popularity. Next time you have friends over for cocktails, why not serve up some party punch in a great big bowl? No Hunch Punch, mind you, but something more mature. Perhaps Champagne Cup? I can't vouch for the taste of it, but based on the recipe below, I just can't imagine that it would taste anything less than delicious.
Use one quart of champagne, the cut-up peel of two oranges and two sliced lemons, a slice of cucumber peel, a jigger each of brandy and cointreau, a pint of club soda, a teaspoonful of sugar or more if desired. Place the peels of the oranges, lemons and cucumbers in bottom of punch-bowl. Over these pour the brandy and cointreau, then the champagne, and lastly the club soda. When mixed, place a large piece of ice in bowl and garnish top of ice with pieces of rock candy and a few slices of orange.
(The best part of the recipe is the suggested food accompaniments: Raisins chopped and mixed with sherry, spread between thin, diamond-shaped slices of white bread. Pâté de fois gras sandwiches, or small pastry shells filled with it. Small turnovers of pastry glazed with white of egg, without filling. Chopped lettuce, mixed with sour cream, a little sugar, lemon juice and salt- spread between thin slices of white bread or Boston brown bread. Sandwiches made with chopped sautéed mushrooms, canned shrimp, or crab meat, cut fine, mixed with cream sauce, on top of rounds of toast. Any kind of simple cookies, wafers, champagne Chantillys and cashew nuts.)
A red and white tablecloth sets the tone for a Claret punch party.
Swedish glögg served alongside oatmeal, rye and spice cookies, orange cake and almonds
A Victorian style table set with fringed fish net cloth. I don't suggest that you replicate this table.
Silver and glass accessories suggested for punch service.