Cocktail Hour: Summer Picnic Punch

[dropcap2]S[/dropcap2]ummer is the season of soirées. The long days of summer entice us to gather together to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors that have been hidden from us all winter. Whether you’re hanging out on a blanket on the grass, sunning on a beach towel in the sand, or lounging by the pool at a backyard barbecue, this Summer Picnic Punch is made for sharing and will guarantee that you’ll get invited back.

The key to bringing a beverage to a summer soirée is portability. You don’t want to bring any glass, lest you break it at the pool or have to clean up broken shards in the grass. Most public places don’t allow glass anyway, so invest in a great plastic pitcher. I love the Takeya 2-Qt Airtight Pitcher. It seals shut so there’s no fear of leaking in your bag. Double Bonus: You can shake it, or even store it horizontally in your fridge. In the off-season, you can fill it with iced tea, when it’s not performing its duties as the bearer of summer cocktail fun.

Summer beverages should be refreshing, so you want a beverage with a lower ABV (alcohol by volume). In the summer heat, you need a drink that will quench your thirst, not one that will put you to bed early. The summer punch I made is a refreshing blend of hibiscus tea and rum. Teas are the traditional base for punch, so feel free to experiment with your own combinations. I bet you didn’t know that green tea tastes great with whiskey!

Finally, pre-chill your beverage and keep the ice separate ideally– you don’t want to overly dilute the drink before consuming it. This dulls the flavor of your drink and lowers the alcohol content to the point where it’s no longer fun to drink.

Summer Picnic Punch

Serves 4

1 cup loosely packed mint leaves (a handful)
4 c Hibiscus Tea
1 c PAMA pomegranate liqueur
1 c aged rum
1/2 c lemon juice
1 tbsp simple syrup* (or to taste)

*You can make simple syrup with a 1:1 ratio of white sugar to water. Use warm water to ensure that the sugar dissolves completely before using it.

[clear] Pull the mint leaves from the stem and spank them in your hand to release the oils. You don’t have to muddle them, unless you’re a glutton for punishment and need the workout. Brew the tea ahead of time and chill. I used bagged tea from the supermarket for easy clean up. Combine all the ingredients and let it sit in your refrigerator overnight to allow for the flavors to meld while chilling.

I love this punch because of the beautiful red color that makes everyone ask, “What’s in your glass, and where can I get that?” It is also tart and not too sweet. You can do a variation where you fill your glass halfway and top it with soda water, if you would like to lower the intensity, or add more syrup if it’s too tart for your taste buds.

Enjoy! Cheers!


What’s your favorite summer libation? Share your thoughts and comments with us below! Cheers!