The countdown has begun: There are, unbelievably, just three days of summer left! Sure, fall may not officially start for three more weeks, but for all intents and purposes, the season is over after this weekend.
The only thing to do is party for the next 72 hours. And nothing satisfies a thirsty group better than a big bowl of punch.
Nowhere are punches more revered than in the South—from the tropical Planter’s Punch that’s practically South Carolina’s state beverage to the delicious rum concoction created by Martha Washington at Mount Vernon in Virginia, flowing bowls have deep roots in Dixie.
So we turned to a couple of the South’s finest mixologists for recipes that are ideal for a Labor Day event—but they’re so good, you’ll want to enjoy them year-round.
At Veranda on Highland in Birmingham, Ala., bar manager Steva Casey whips up a different bowl of punch every day for happy hour, and it’s typically long gone by 7 PM. Her refreshing Last Gentleman combines bourbon, watermelon juice and a simple thyme-infused syrup for a sophisticated elixir that serves 10.
When it comes to unique punchbowls, New Orleans’ Bellocq is the champ. The centerpiece of its bar is a gorgeous sterling-silver number found at a local antique shop featuring a huge octopus holding up the bowl. Co-owner Kirk Estopinal fills it with an array of old-timey creations, including English Punsch (pictured above), a mix of gin, brandy, port and Earl Grey tea.
Now get to mixing. The clock is ticking, after all!