A general rule I use often for punches (and drinks too) is 2 parts strong, 1 part sweet and 1 part sour. This is simplified, of course, but with slight adjustments for taste, really works. I think the best way to group punches might be by type or flavor profile rather than strength. A drink might taste "stronger" depending on the liquor used and relationship to sweeteners, citrus, and as you mentioned, ice. The first punch below, for example, is "strong" but very well balanced so does not taste overly boozy.
The following punch is a really terrific variation of a drink called The Gentleman. I would like to take credit for it, but both were created by my business partner
at Trina's Starlite Lounge, Beau Sturm. He made this punch with me recently for 50 people during a Christmas holiday event at the Urban Grape South End, with great success. -- Josh Childs
The Grinch Stole My Punch by Beau Sturm, Trina's Starlite Lounge
1.5 liters Bourbon
1 bottle (750ml) Belle de Brillet (pear cognac)
peels of 6 lemons
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup superfine sugar
muddle lemon peels and sugar together
stir lemon juice with muddled peels and sugar until sugar is completely solved (creating oleo saccharum)
add booze & lemon peel mixture
stir again vigorously
add big ice cube*
top with 1 liter soda water
garnish with thin pear & lemon slices
* At the restaurant, we fill quart sized Tupperware containers with water and freeze them. A big ice cube melts slower, thus slowing the dilution of the punch.
My recent post for Christmas featured this recipe as an individual drink but it could also make a wonderful punch.
Natale a Padua
.5 liter Gin
.5 liter Aperol
.5 liter rosemary simple syrup
.5 liter lime juice
1 bottle of Prosecco
rosemary sprig garnish
large ice cube
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