I love punch. Punch is the lazy lady's signature cocktail. That sounds bad, but let me explain. Signature cocktails are great for small, low key gatherings. Gatherings where you have time and ease to mingle with your guests and maybe have time to teach your cocktail to somebody else and all take turns with the drink shaker. But for larger gatherings, especially around the holidays where you're already perpetually trying to do ten things at once, I prefer the punch bowl. Punch is basically just a giant signature cocktail which you can make in advance and will still impress the pants off of people. (Especially if you throw in some decorative ice blocks.) This punch recipe was born out of reading about thirty punch recipes, realizing most of them had ingredients I didn't have access to in Korea, remembering that we had infused some vodka with dried red peppers and going to Costco to see what I could find. You could, of course, make this punch without spicy vodka but it's pretty mild and really makes the punch more interesting than it would be with uninfused vodka.
For the Vodka:
- 1 Liter Vodka
- 3-5 Dried Red Peppers
Put the peppers in the vodka and let infuse at least one week.
For the Basil Simple Syrup
- 2 cups Water
- 2 cups Sugar
- 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves
Bring the water and sugar to a full boil. Turn off heat and thrown in basil leaves. Cover and let steep 15 minutes. Strain and chill.
Yield: approx 1.3 gallons or 5 liters (I made double this recipe for Thanksgiving)
- Mix everything together in a big ass jug or punch bowl. I recommend mixing in a jug because of step 2.
- Let sit overnight, refrigerated. Right before guests arrive remove from refrigerator and throw in some decorative ice blocks. Mine had lemon, lime and tangerine slices as well as fresh herbs and were made in tupperware so that they were easy to run under warm water and pop out.
- Let guests ladle as they desire, give your cocktail shaking muscles a break and focus on getting that last tray of cookies out of the oven (or fork on the table or cheese on the platter or or or)