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New West Test Kitchen: Wedding Punch

2013-08-14 12.45.11We’ve all had this punch, right? The kind you watch someone putting together and you think… did they just buy a bunch of crap at the grocery store and pour it into a big bowl, yet it tastes awesome? This wedding punch we’ve all had is sort of the beverage equivalent of Dump Cake (which we’ll also be doing).

This time, both of us modified the recipe before making it because Tistylee’s recipe was punch for FIFTY people. That’s just too much. So Kristy made a modified version, but we’ll include the original recipe, just in case you need to make wedding punch for fifty.

Y’know, in your spare time.

Wedding Punch For Fifty (Tistylee)

IMGP87751 (6 oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 (6 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 (6 oz) can frozen pineapple concentrate or 1 lg. can pineapple juice
2 (46 oz) cans Hawaiian Punch
1 pkg. strawberry Kool-Aid
2 qt water

Add just before serving:
2 btl. Ginger ale
1 bt. Sparkling soda

I set out to make this recipe weeks ago and had to try three different stores in order to get all the ingredients!  Back in the day, Hawaiian Punch must have been more popular, because that was the hardest one for me to find!  Hard to believe, right?  In the end, I found a six pack of 10 oz bottles.  I couldn’t find the strawberry Kool-aid either, and had to settle for mixed berry.  I assumed that the “bottles” of Ginger Ale and soda were 1 liter bottles.

Anyways, once you have all the ingredients, it’s a pretty simple recipe.

Because I don’t have a HUGE juice container, I decided to quarter the recipe.  First, I empty a fourth of the juice concentrates into my jar.  Just a couple tablespoons of each kind of concentrate.

Next, I put in approximately I 10 oz bottle of Hawaiian punch into the jar.

At this point, looking at the amount of liquid sitting at the bottom of my container, I realize that I can make half a recipe instead.  So I go back and add more concentrate, so half of each kind is included, as well as another bottle of Hawaiian punch.  From here on, I am making half the recipe above.

 

After that, I emptied the Kool-Aid into a measuring cup and poured approximately half into the growing drink concoction.  And then I added 1 qt of water, 1 liter of Ginger ale, and half a liter of Sparkling soda.  The only direction in the recipe says to add the ale and soda water just before serving, but since we were just enjoying the punch for the day, I did it all at once.  Sitting in the fridge didn’t seem to affect the fizzyness of those sodas at all.  It tasted the same every time I poured another glass.

We drank it most of the day, me more than the kids.  I think the kids might have found it too sweet.  For me, it was a trip down memory lane.  I grew up going to reunions, anniversary parties and church functions where this was always offered.  I doubt I will make this often, though.  I’m sure there is a way to make it without all the concentrates and fake drinks, that would still taste good… and the kids would enjoy more.

New West Wedding Punch (Beckatron)

Well, Kris, as it turns out, there is a way to make it without all the concentrates and fake drinks, and it tastes incredible (yet somehow also tastes like the original version).

My goal in doing this was to use only fresh food, which is why I call it the New West way. No concentrates, no pre-made products. I even (thanks to my Soda Stream) made my own ginger-flavored carbonated water.

However, I have to admit, it was better with the bottled ginger ale that I almost always kept around the house at the time.

So here’s how I made mine. I looked at all the fake ingredients in the punch and found a way to make them all fresh. Here’s what I did:

Juice of three lemons
Juice of three oranges
Juice of one lime
Macerated raspberries
Macerated strawberries
Macerated cherries
Ginger simple syrup
Carbonated water

The product was: an incredible tasting juicy, fizzy drink that tasted an awful lot like that great wedding punch, only less sweet and with a super gingery taste.

I was able to change that by changing up the ginger syrup/carbonated water combo with either a ginger beer (which was very gingery and needed sugar, in the end) or some ginger ale. WIth the ginger ale, other than being less sweet, it tasted SO similar to the original version. The thing I liked the best was that when you squeeze/macerate/pound the berries,  you get some juice and some pulp. I pressed some of the bigger berries (strawberries & cherries) through the juice squeezer, and that worked nicely. Then I added some of the pulp because it looked pretty.

The raspberries worked the best when I put them in a strainer with very tiny holes and pressed the juice out, then kept some of the pulp.

dsAdditionally, to help people who want it a little sweeter (or if you do decide to add alcohol), I took a little of the leftover pulp and put it in the bottom of each one of the individual serving cups, just to add some texture to the drink (and some pretty). The regular punch tasted great, but something about the extra fruit in the bottom of the cup really made it fun. It would make an awesome party drink in individual wine glasses (mine were stemless).

It was fantastic.

I highly suggest this as a party drink. It would also be a great base for some kind of alcoholic drink if you like that. But as far as a fresh version of the old-timey recipe that we all remember? SCORE!

What do you think? How would you update the original wedding punch or party punch concept?

Tune in next week for….. uh-oh…. sheet cake. :)

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