Attractive presentation makes punch taste best

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I was thinking the other day about having a refreshing beverage – it was 90 degrees outside, and my mouth was parched. My mind ran down the list of cool drinks I have prepared in the past.


I began thinking of new beverages to prepare and how pretty and enticing I could make them look, which truly is a blissful experience for me.  Sometimes I am amazed by where my imagination can go.

When we bought the Poet’s House, Bob and I had the wonderful opportunity of getting to know the former owners, Dick and Ruby Zehe. Ruby is an amazing lady who taught me a lot while living in this area. One of her many lessons was to never tell what ingredients you have used to prepare a dish. “Just tell them it is a secret recipe,” she would say.

For example, when she invited us to dinner and served her special pasta dish, I, like always, tried to find out what was in it. It was absolutely delicious.

“It’s a secret recipe,” she replied.

She never did tell me. I think I know her secret, but I won’t tell.

Ruby also did this with beverages. I recall another time when we were invited to her Madison home to watch the Regatta parade. She always did such superb arrangements and was an excellent hostess. Each guest was to bring a favorite dish; Ruby provided the drinks. She had the most beautiful punch display I had ever seen – a large glass vase filled to the brim with a very delightful, non-alcoholic liquid, fresh fruit and lots of ice. My mouth watered just looking at it, and I was compelled to drink it. It was just as delicious as it looked, though I believe the presentation was what made it taste so good.

I have tried to replicate that look and to give you a few  of my tried-and-true recipes to wet your whistle this summer.

I hope you will share some of your favorite one’s with us. I give you:

Just a Simple Punch

1 large bottle of Hawaiian punch (the one with the handle)

4 scoops of lemonade mix

Ginger ale

Lots of ice

Add the four scoops of lemonade mix into the bottle of Hawaiian punch, replace the lid and shake well to dissolve the lemonade mix. 

Pour into a punch bowl or pitcher filled with ice, add  ginger ale. You can keep the punch mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use, then as needed pour in the ginger ale and punch  together.

Excellent Punch

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

1 cup strong tea (use 2 bags)

5 lemons, juiced or 1 (8-oz) bottle lemon juice

3 bottles strawberry pop

1  (medium) jar maraschino cherries and juice

1 (46-oz.) bottle orange juice

1 (46-oz.) bottle pineapple juice

1 quart vanilla ice cream

1 large bottle ginger ale

Boil sugar and water together a few minutes, then cool. Mix chilled juices, cold strong tea, and syrup. Pour over ice or ice mold. Dip in softened ice cream. Add cherries with their juice. Slowly pour ginger ale and strawberry pop on top. 

This will serve 50-75 people, but you might need more.  It’s delicious.


My replication

Ice (lots)

Raspberry Crystal Light

Different slices of fresh fruit

Fresh mint



Lonnie Sundermeyer is a professional caterer residing in Ghent, Ky.