It’s my birthday again so to celebrate I’m giving you a present. The recipe is my Dad’s champagne punch which he has served at many a holiday party. Joe’s Champagne Punch is sneaky. After a few glasses you realize this punch serves as much of a wallop as my daughter’s boxing coach dishes up in the ring. Only it’s a cocktail wallop and you don’t realize how potent it is until after you’ve had a few glasses. Whenever Dad stirs up a batch I can hear Mom warning people, “You have to be careful with this champagne punch because it goes down soooo easy!”
When my parents serve this they mix it up in a cut glass punch bowl. A few months before I got married (and well before the advent of Photoshop) I did a job where I needed to bring a wall thermostat frozen into a block of clear ice to a photo shoot. Not really food styling, but it was a job. I found a great company near Boston who had discovered how to freeze solid objects in clear ice. For our wedding Shawn and I had them make us an ice bowl filled with flowers which we used to serve Joe’s champagne punch out of. For my 50th birthday bonfire celebration we nestled a giant stainless steel mixing bowl into a snowdrift an ladled the punch out of that. However you serve it don’t forget to warn people of its potency or plan on making your party a sleepover.
Joe’s Champagne Cocktail
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice
3 cups lemon juice
1 bottle brandy
4 bottles champagne
Simple syrup to taste
Make the simple syrup by combining 2 cups of sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat and cool. I often find my self doing this step at the last-minute in the middle of winter so I simply put the pan on the back steps to cool down. If you find yourself perilously close to party time you can also place the pan of simple syrup in a bowl filled with ice, which should cool it down quickly.
Once you’ve made a batch of simple syrup find yourself a huge punchbowl or bowl. Mix everything together except the simple syrup. Mix the simple syrup in to taste. My husband and I like the punch a little bit tart, but it really is something you should taste and decide. You can also mix it up so it’s tart, then leave a small pitcher of simple syrup on the side for guests who like things sweeter.
You can also make a small party-size batch by quartering the recipe to use just one bottle of champagne.
Whatever you do don’t try to save time by pre-releasing the cork cages. One year Dad thought he could save time at their annual Christmas party by untwisting all the wire fasteners on the champagne corks. The holiday festivities were in full swing when suddenly the kitchen was filled with the retort of champagne corks ejecting themselves from their bottles at random. Bubbly (yet happy) chaos ensued.