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20-40-60 Etiquette: Punch drunk at a party
QUESTION: If you are not serving an alcoholic beverage, is punch passe? Is it a beverage of another era?
CALLIE'S ANSWER: Unless it is the signature drink for the event I would pass on serving it. Coke, tea and water are probably your best options.
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: While I don't see punch as often as I used to, a good punch served in a pretty bowl can still be a refreshing drink, especially for a bridal or baby shower or a Kentucky Derby party, which is what makes me think of punch. That and Mint Julep, the Southern drink traditionally served in silver cups.
An Internet search revealed all kinds of punch recipes, many posted in the last few months, for celebrations like the Super Bowl, New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving and Christmas and baby showers.
In 2008, both the Los Angeles Times and Chow.com reported that punch was making a comeback as a drink option, and it featured several upscale restaurants in various cities that were offering punch as a drink choice for a table. These restaurants were punch as a way to get creative with their concoctions beyond traditional recipes.
So yes, punch is a beverage of another era: It dates back several hundred years and has such a history that you can buy a 320-page book from 2010 about it by David Wondrich called “Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl.” However, if you want to serve punch at an event, you can think of it as a retro treat or find ways to bring it up to date and serve it anyway.