How to make punch with or without alcohol. A guide to perfect homemade fruit punch to impress during summer gatherings, holidays, and parties – with endless flavor variations, top tips, and FAQs!
A heatwave is on its way here in the UK as the summer weather ramps up to 100%. So, as usual, I’m turning to all my favorite summer beverages to keep me cool and refreshed. Along with big jugs of pineapple lemonade and peach iced tea, I’ve also been experimenting with different easy fruit punch recipes for the BBQ I keep telling myself I’ll plan.
Homemade fruit punch is the perfect refreshing party drink to enjoy all year. Serve it for dinner parties, the holidays, cookouts, the 4th of July, birthday parties, bridal showers, and everything in between. As some would say, it’s no party without a punch, whether it is a non-alcoholic sangria or refreshing spiked punch.
Plus, you can make versions of alcoholic and non-alcoholic fruit punch like a sweet-tart cranberry, orange, and pineapple juice blend, depending on who’s drinking it. It’s my go-to non-alcoholic drink for any special occasion! Best of all, following a simple formula, you can prepare a different quick and easy version to fit any occasion.
Keep reading for several of my favorite flavor variations, the various fruit juice and fruits to experiment with, and top tips for preparing the best party punch recipe every time. All with 100% all-natural ingredients for a refreshing drink that’s not cloyingly sweet but also makes the most of all those vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!
Table of contents
What Is Punch?
Punch is a fairly broad term dating back to India in the 17th century and the drink “paantsch”, containing alcohol, sugar, lemon or lime juice, spices, and water. Now, though, it describes drinks that usually contain fruits and/or fruit juice optionally with alcohol.
There are warm (like wassail) and chilled (like party punch) versions. And they are usually served at parties and events (like dances, school functions, etc.) out of large, wide bowls (aka punch bowls) or tall jugs. Thanks to their versatility, they are easy to adapt to fit different themes, holidays, and flavor profiles.
However, many commercial versions contain only a tiny fraction of real fruit juice, with an abundance of artificial flavors, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup. Luckily, you can prepare a large bowl of homemade fruit punch in no time at all, with minimal effort!
Homemade Fruit Punch Ingredients
It’s amazingly simple to pull together a beautiful, delicious fruit punch juice, and all you need are two base elements – juices & fruits.
- Juice blend: One of the best things about making homemade fruit punch is its versatility. For example, I’m currently obsessed with cranberry juice, orange juice, and pineapple juice combination. Some of the juice options you can choose from are:
- Pineapple juice
- Passion fruit juice
- Orange juice
- Apple juice
- Guava nectar
- Fruits: Change the fruits you use based on the juices in the punch recipe. For the version pictured, I included:
- Orange slices
- Chopped strawberries
- Kiwi slices
- Dragon fruit (pink and white)
- Lime wedges (for extra flavor).
For the version pictured, I was making a simple “fruit salad” style party punch. It had cranberry juice as a base which allowed the different chopped fruits to infuse it with extra flavor. You can also add extra flavor with some lime juice and ginger ale.
- Ice: (Optional) To avoid watering down the summer punch, use fake ice cubes or make fruit juice ice cubes.
- Lime juice: To add extra brightness and balance the sweetness in the fruit punch recipe. Use fresh lime juice, not bottled.
- Alcohol: White rum, vodka, red wine, sparkling wine, cognac, prosecco, apple cider, and Pimm’s are just a few alcohol choices you can experiment with when preparing an alcoholic party punch. You can also make champagne punch.
Apple cider pairs particularly well with this cranberry, orange, and pineapple mix. Especially when serving it as a holiday cocktail recipe.
- Sweetener: If you want an even sweeter drink, you could add a small amount of simple syrup or grenadine syrup. Alternatively, use a natural sweetener, like honey.
- Carbonation: Add some fizz to the punch drink for an extra layer of something special. I.e., seltzer, lemon or lime soda, club soda, pink lemonade, sparkling water, etc.
- Ginger ale: Another way to add fizz PLUS extra flavor is with ginger ale.
- Sherbet: Add a few scoops of your favorite sherbet (like lime sherbet) or sorbet right before serving.
- Fresh herbs: Like mint leaves, basil, or rosemary.
Party Punch Juice Blends
- Tropical punch: When it comes to tropical punch recipes/Hawaiian punch, there are plenty of fruity combinations to choose from. For example:
- Pineapple juice, orange juice, and mango juice.
- Mango juice, strawberry juice, orange juice, a small amount of lime juice, and soda water.
- Mango juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, strawberry juice, and a little lime.
- Watermelon juice, pineapple juice, and sprite with berries and mint leaves.
- Peach punch: Peach nectar, pineapple juice, lemonade (or sparkling water with lemon or lime juice).
- Guava punch: Guava juice, lemon or lime juice, ginger ale, and seltzer (soda water).
- Holiday punch recipe: Cranberry juice, orange juice, apple juice, lemonade with extra cranberries. And orange slices, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks for the bowl/jug. Optionally with white rum or vodka.
- Grapey: Grape juice, white grape juice, apple juice, and pineapple juice.
How to Make Fruit Punch
To say the process of preparing a big bowl or large pitcher of summer punch is simple would be an understatement.
In a large bowl or pitcher, add ice (if using, check the FAQs below) and all the juices.
If you’re adding sparkling ingredients, add them just before serving to keep the carbonation for as long as possible.
Then, wash and chop your fruits of choice and add them to the bowl. Finally, give everything a mix, taste, and adjust any ingredient to your liking, and voila!
I highly recommend preparing the fruit juice portion of the punch a few hours (or even overnight in the fridge) ahead to allow the flavors to meld. You can also freeze some of the fruit punch into ice cubes (for up to 4 months). Then add them to the punch drink to avoid diluting the whole mix.
The flavored ice cubes also make for a great subtle “infusion” for those drinking water.
If you’re using freshly squeezed juices, it’s best to consume the homemade fruit punch recipe within 1-2 days for optimal freshness. Carton juices will last a couple of days extra. Note that you should consume the fruit pieces within a few hours, as they’ll become weirdly soggy when left too long.
How to Serve Party Punch
When serving a party: I love to make one alcoholic punch and one non-alcoholic version so everyone is catered to. Both kids and adults will appreciate the non-alcoholic punch drink.
To make punch cocktails: Add a shot of alcohol (1.5oz) to the glass and top off with the fruit punch. Stir and enjoy.
If you want to spike the entire batch, increase the amount of alcohol according to servings. i.e., 15oz for 10 servings.
Not at all – as long as you use good quality bottled juice. Avoid juices “from concentrate”. Then you can skip the extra juicing steps when you’re running low on time.
If you want to keep the fruit punch juice chilled without diluting it, you could freeze some of the punch in advance to use as ice cubes. Or use those reusable plastic ice cubes or add frozen fruit to the punch bowl when serving.
If preferred, you could add the ice directly to each glass rather than to the entire punch bowl.
As a general rule, provide one gallon of fruit punch per 10 guests.
More Summer Drink Recipes
- Peach Lemonade
- Best Mangonada Recipe (Chamoyada)
- Fresh Ginger Ale Recipe
- How To Make Bubble Tea
- Aloe Vera Juice
If you try this easy fruit punch recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Easy Fruit Punch (Endless Flavor Possibilities)
- 4 cups cranberry juice
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 cups pineapple juice
- chopped fruit I used a blend of pomegranate, orange, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, kiwi, dragonfruit, and lime.
- 1 cup ice or more, or omit, or freeze some of the punch into ice to avoid diluting the drink
Use the juice and fruit blend of your choice. Check the blog post for options!
How to Make Fruit Punch
- In a large bowl or pitcher, add ice (if using, check the FAQs) and all the juices.If you’re adding sparkling ingredients, add them just before serving to keep the carbonation for as long as possible.
- Wash and chop your fruits of choice and add them to the bowl.
- Give everything a mix, taste, and adjust any ingredient to your liking, and voila!
- I highly recommend preparing the fruit juice portion of the punch a few hours (or even overnight) ahead to allow the flavors to meld. You can also freeze some of the fruit punch into ice cubes (for up to 4 months) to add to the drink and avoid diluting the whole mix.The flavored ice cubes also make for a great subtle "infusion" for those drinking water.If you're using freshly squeezed juices, it's best to consume the drink within 1-2 days for optimal freshness. Carton juices will last a couple of days extra. Note that you should consume the fruit pieces within a few hours, as they'll become weirdly soggy when left too long.
- Experiment with fruits: There are an almost endless amount of flavor variations.
- Tweak to preference: While there are plenty of fruit punch recipes, they are all adjustable to your liking. I often start with an identical ratio of every juice, to begin, and then play around with the ratios until I’m happy.
- Prepare the punch in advance: This gives the various juices time to mingle and meld for better flavor. However, only add any fizzy element and the fresh fruits just before serving.
- When serving a party: I love to make one alcoholic punch and one non-alcoholic version so everyone is catered to (it’s not just the kids that will appreciate the non-alcoholic fruit punch).
- To make punch cocktails: Add a shot of alcohol (1.5oz) to the glass and top off with the fruit punch. Stir, and enjoy! If you want to spike the entire batch, increase the amount of alcohol according to servings. i.e., 15oz for 10 servings.