From Passover gatherings to Easter egg hunts, brunches, and dinner parties, this Spring is going to be busy. All of that entertaining requires a ton of planning, and it’s sure to work up a thirst. Luckily, punches are a great way to quench both needs. From the party-planning perspective, punches save time and energy since they can be made ahead. Punches also free the host from having to serve as a bartender, and let’s face it, who doesn’t want a drink after dyeing a thousand Easter eggs?

For great punch recipes to get the party started this Spring, we reached out to some of New Jersey’s finest spirits pros, including Basking Ridge’s own Jeff Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern, co-founders of The Gefilteria and authors of The Gefilte Manifesto; Zack Ohebshalom, Managing Partner of Asbury Park Distilling, one of the Garden State’s newest craft distillers set to open this year; and Sam Kling, Warren County native and Spirits Buyer for Brooklyn’s Greene Grape Wine & Spirits.


P.T.K.O

This recipe comes from Zack Ohebshalom and the team at Asbury Park Distilling, the Jersey Shore’s first gin and whiskey distillery. It’s light, fruity, and refreshing – perfect for Spring get-togethers.

750 mL Asbury Park Gin

spring party punches4 pink grapefruit, cut into wheels

4 lemons, cut into wheels

3 limes, cut into wheels

1 cup fresh raspberries

1¾ cup fresh lemon juice

1¼ cup simple syrup

3 cups water

1 bottle dry sparkling rosé

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl.
  2. Stir, chill, and serve.

The Prince of Wales Punch

spring party punches

This recipe was reconstructed from a recipe given to composer Frederich Haydn by Prince Nikolaus I of Hungary, according to Sam Kling, Warren County native and Spirits Buyer for The Greene Grape Wine & Spirits in Brooklyn. For this version, we’ve added an extra dose of NJ “spirit.” For a no-fuss way to make a large block of ice, fill a large plastic storage container with water and freeze until solid.

8 lemons

2 cups sugar

1 pint freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained

1 bottle Petty’s Island Rum by Cooper River Distillers or Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum

1 bottle dry red wine, such as 2013 Alba Vineyards Barbera

1 bottle dry sparkling wine, such as Tomasello Winery Blanc de Blanc Brut

  1. Begin by covering the peels of 8 lemons with 2 cups of sugar.
  2. Let infuse for a few hours to create an oleo saccharum.
  3. Once the sugar has become oily, add the strained lemon juice and allow the sugar to dissolve.
  4. Add a large block of ice to the bowl, then add rum, red wine, and sparkling wine. Stir and serve.

New Barbadoes Gin Punch

This recipe, also provided by Sam Kling, was inspired by renowned cocktail titan David Wondrich’s own adaptation of a gin punch that appeared in West India Pickles: A Diary of a Cruise in the West Indies in the Yacht Josephine, written by William P. Talboy in 1876. This version, named for New Barbadoes Township, which today is called Hackensack, swaps out rich simple syrup for a lighter, more flavorful blend of simple and Demerara syrups, and incorporates a Garden State gin.

spring party punches¼ cup Demerara sugar

2½ cups cold water

3 ounces simple syrup

6 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice, strained

1 bottle Jersey Spirits Distillery’s DSP.7 Equinox Gin or Anchor “Genevieve” Genever-Style Gin

3 cups plain coconut water

¼ ounce Angostura bitters

  1. Make the Demerara simple syrup. Combine ¼ cup Demerara sugar and ¼ cup water in a saucepan. Heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, then allow to cool over an ice bath.
  2. Combine 3 oz of the Demerara syrup with 3 oz of the simple syrup.
  3. In a 3-quart bowl, combine the syrups with the strained lime juice.
  4. Add a block of ice, then pour in the gin, coconut water, the remaining 2¼ cups of cold water, and Angostura bitters.
  5. Stir and serve, garnished as desired.

Parsley Kombucha Cucumber Gin Punch

spring party punches

This recipe is a take on one of the hottest cocktail trends today, kombucha cocktails. The slightly fizzy, slightly tart nature of kombucha makes it a great foundation for bright, fun drinks. In this punch, we paired the light and refreshing Parsley Kombucha featured from The Gefilte Manifesto by Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz. Making the kombucha is the time-consuming part, but you know what they say about all good things…

As Liz writes in The Gefilte Manifesto: “Parsley kombucha is our light and refreshing take on the fermented tea that’s become a health food staple. This kombucha reminds some people of sparkling kosher grape juice. That seems fitting. If you have a friend who makes kombucha, they will definitely have a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to give you. A new SCOBY, also called a mother, forms each time you brew kombucha, so once you start the process, you’ll have more mothers than you’ll know what to do with. If you don’t know anyone who makes kombucha, you can either (a) purchase a SCOBY online or from a fermentation store, or (b) make your own mother by purchasing kombucha from the store and letting it sit out at room temperature for about two weeks.”

1-2 cucumbers, sliced

4 quarts Parsley Kombucha (recipe follows)

6 ounces Powell & Mahoney Simple Syrup

1 pint freshly squeezed lime juice

1 bottle Great Notch Distillery Dry Gin

1 bottle Old York Cellars Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine or club soda

  1. In a large punch bowl, combine the cucumbers, kombucha, simple syrup juice and gin.
  2. Stir to combine, then add a large ice block to the bowl.
  3. Just before serving, add the sparkling wine or club soda, stir and have fun.

Parsley Kombucha (Tea Kvass)

Excerpted from The Gefilte Manifesto by Jeffrey Yoskowitz & Liz Alpern. Copyright © 2016 by Gefilte Manifesto LLC. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Lauren Volo.

3½ quarts filtered water

¾ cup sugar

2 bunches fresh parsley

2 cups store-bought live-cultured kombucha or kombucha from a previous batch

1 kombucha SCOBY

  1. Bring the filtered water to a boil. Stir in the sugar until it has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the parsley. Let the parsley and hot water steep until the water cools to room temperature. Note that the resulting tea will remain clear.
  2. Remove all the parsley, setting aside 2 sprigs and discarding the rest. Pour the parsley tea into a 1-gallon crock or jar (a glass vessel with a spout at the bottom is ideal), then pour in the kombucha, add the SCOBY and reserved sprigs of parsley, and stir. Cover with cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and secure with a rubber band or twine. Let sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks. As with most fermented foods and beverages, the time it takes for the kombucha to brew varies with the room temperature and your personal taste preferences. The taste will also vary depending on the starter kombucha you’ve used and the SCOBY. After day 7, taste the kombucha daily. The flavor should be sour, but it shouldn’t taste like vinegar. Once you’re happy with the taste, remove the parsley stems and the SCOBY and store the SCOBY in the fridge in a glass jar with 2 cups of your recent batch of kombucha (or enough to keep the mother completely submerged). Bottle the rest of the kombucha in a glass vessel with a tight-fitting screw-on lid.
  3. To carbonate, let the kombucha sit in the bottle with lid screwed on tightly at room temperature for 2 to 3 days before refrigerating. This will allow time for carbonation to develop in the bottle. Once you’re in the groove of making kombucha, start another batch right away.