Keeping a unique drink selection at your restaurant or bar requires innovation, but surprisingly, an old party favorite is revolutionizing the menu at establishments across the country. Punch is a fairly easy concoction that can be served at high volumes to please entire tables or even individuals at your restaurant. As with any drink, the intricacy and variation is up to you. However you construct your punch and the number of different kinds you make will depend on your restaurant, but it is wise to get on board with the punch craze as soon as possible, both for profitability and customer satisfaction.
Barprofits.com's article "Punches – Communal Bowls of Conviviality," goes into the punch phenomenon currently taking place in bars and restaurants in the United States. The entry features bartender Brian Miller of New York Lower East Side hotspot Death & Company, who said punches provide every drink quality necessary for long term success. "When guests see the people at the table next to them drinking a gigantic drink out of a communal glass bowl, they immediately follow suit and order one of their own. In addition to being irresistibly appealing, punches also have a great deal of perceived value. You get more drink for the money." Punches can feature a wide array of liquor, juices and can be served both hot or cold. Here are a few recipes to keep in mind when crafting your drink menu this fall.
Spiked Apple Pie Punch
Apple pie is an American staple all year long, but I think the warmth associated with cinnamon makes it ideal for fall. The Mother Nature Network features this punch recipe, which can be served either cold or hot, and may be put together with inexpensive ingredients, such as grain alcohol, in a short period of time. This drink is perfect for busy restaurants with a high volume of patronage as the recipe serves 36.
1 gallon apple juice
1 gallon apple cider
3 cups white sugar
8 cinnamon sticks
1 bottle 190 proof grain alcohol (750 ml)
In a large pot, combine juice, cider, sugar and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool completely. When cool, stir in grain alcohol. Transfer to large serving dish. Garnish with additional cinnamon sticks or apple slices, if desired.
Italian Fruit Punch
Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis made a name for herself cooking Italian cuisine on her television show, Everyday Italian. This recipe is perfect for smaller, more intimate restaurants of all kinds, but the sweet punch features limoncello and maraschino liqueur, which are more specialized drink products. The simply assembled drink serves four and takes just about 5 minutes to make, which will help keep your customers happy.
2 cups orange juice
2 cups chilled sparkling water
1/2 cup maraschino liqueur
1/4 cup limoncello
Black licorice, for garnish
Combine all the ingredients, except the licorice, in a pitcher. Stir to mix. Pour into glasses and garnish with a stalk of licorice.
Poinsettias are plants with Christmas connotations, but this punch is perfect for your lineup before the first snow ever falls. Saveur.com, the website for sophisticated cuisine, presents this elaborate punch that's perfect for bars with a plethora of liquors and condiments handy. This recipe is the brainchild of Frank Cisneros, who is also a bartender at an East Village landmark bar in the Gin Palace. The punch is great for drink first, food second establishments, as it serves one.
2 oz. floral gin, such as NOLET's
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. grenadine
¼ oz. allspice dram, such as St. Elizabeth
¼ oz. cinnamon syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 slice lemon, to garnish
Combine gin, juice, grenadine, dram, syrup and bitters in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with cracked ice; garnish with lemon.
Block Island Fog
In abandoning usual punch products such as fruit and juices, this punch from Delish.com is one of a kind. The drink is great for coffee lovers or anyone looking for a dessert-like after dinner drink to bring the meal full circle. With coffee liqueur and vodka, this drink is an easy put together for restaurants with a limited drink selection. The recipe serves 16, which could work well for larger dinner parties or business gatherings.
2 cups coffee liqueur
1/2 cups vodka
5 cups espresso or strong black coffee, cooled
3 pints high-quality coffee ice cream, softened
Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled.