Punch is a favorite party beverage for Southerners. We love parties and we love to serve punch at our parties. There are as many variation for punch as Carter’s has little liver pills. It usually has a fruit juice base and we throw in all sorts of other things such as ginger ale, tea, milk, ice cream or sherbet.
A variation called “Slush Punch” became popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. You make it ahead of time, freeze it in a gallon jug and then partially thaw before serving. The punch remains slushy which is not only refreshing but negates the need for ice or an ice ring. Make ahead dishes are always on my party menus. They decrease the party day stress and help you to get organized a little better. It’s a beautiful thing.
I had two events rather close together for which I wanted to serve punch. Considering the closeness of the dates of the events, I needed two different versions of punch. I can’t have people thinking I serve the same thing over and over, for Heaven’s sake. This recipe answered the calling like a champion. It makes up two gallons and one gallon is all I need to fill my punch bowl. At the first event, I served the punch in the traditional “slushy” manner. For the second event, I completely thawed the punch but kept it ice-cold in the refrigerator and pour it over scoops of sherbet in the punch bowl. I kept both versions kid-friendly. You can certainly add spirits or liqueur if you so desire.
The consensus was pretty evenly divided with about half preferring version 1 and half preferring version 2. Overall, it’s palate pleasing. And it’s cold. We can’t ever have too many cold drinks south of the Mason-Dixon line. The weather gets hot here more than it’s not. We’ve seen several 90 degree days so far this year and it’s only May 1. Lord, please help us through this summer.
Y’all come see us!
Slush Punch – version 1
I’ve had this recipe in my file for over thirty years. I’ve made some modifications to the original recipe that I think have even improved an already delicious punch. You can change the flavor of the Jello to suit your tastes. Also, if you can’t find raspberry lemonade, just use two cans lemonade. Change up the flavors to suit your taste. All that matters is that you like the flavor. Simply use my measurements as a guideline for the amount that you need to yield 2 gallons of punch.
I froze the punch in two (1-gallon) plastic jugs. In that size container, it needs to thaw 5 hours before serving. If you use gallon freezer bags or other size containers, the thaw time may be different.
1 package (0.6 ounces) strawberry Jello (other flavors may be substituted)
6 cups water
2 (46 ounce) cans pineapple juice
1 (12 ounce ) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 (12 ounce) can frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (12 ounce) can lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 gallon water
1/2 cup sugar, optional
1 liter ginger-ale
In a large bowl, dissolved jello in 6 cups boiling water. Add remaining ingredients, except ginger-ale, and stir well. Taste before adding the sugar. You may not need it. Pour into two (1-gallon) jugs. Freeze for at least 24 hours. Thaw one gallon 5 hours before serving. Pour into punch bowl. Add ginger-ale. I used about half the liter. One gallon is just about the right amount for a standard size punch bowl. I had to cut the top off the plastic gallon container to get all the punch out. Once it’s in the bowl, you can break up the large chunks very easily.
Slush Punch – version 2
This version isn’t served slushy, but it uses the same base as version 1. Completely thaw the punch before serving but keep it ice-cold in the refrigeration. Scoop out your favorite sherbet into the punch bowl before adding the punch. I used Rainbow (orange, lime, pineapple) and scooped about 1 1/2 quarts. Pour in the punch and top with ginger-ale. Once again, I used about 1/2 a liter of ginger-ale. Use more or less to your liking. The ginger-ale isn’t required but I think the carbonation makes the beverage seem more party-ish.
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