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Nothing says “gather ‘round” quite like a punch bowl—especially one filled with a thoughtfully batched cocktail. Jennifer Collins, New York market manager for Mezcal El Silencio, has served many a drink from her collection of heavyweight punch bowls, many of which travel regularly with her on the job. Collins, a champion for large format mezcal drinks, credits David Wondrich’s Punch with taking this tradition to the modern mainstream: “A punch bowl is a way to showcase a beverage in a beautiful and unique way. It’s a conversation piece,” she shares, noting that each of her bowls comes with its own story. “Punch is about fellowship through its rich history. That’s what makes it so great.”
The everyday home bartender won’t necessarily be transporting punch bowls from place to place like Collins, but either way, durability is key for something destined to be surrounded by guests. Our mezcal punch expert suggests purchasing a bowl made of sturdy materials, such as copper or other metals; if you’re partial to glass, opt for heavy-duty. Either way, you’ll want a relatively indestructible ladle for sound serving. “No one wants to throw away a perfectly good beverage because of a broken glass ladle,” she advises. “What a sad day that would be!”
With some help from our beverage industry experts, here are our top favorite punch bowls for the home bartender.
Best Overall: David Wondrich 1 Gallon Punch Selection
Who better to design a punch bowl than the author of the official book on punch? Cocktail Kingdom’s David Wondrich collection features this charmingly old-school punch bowl, emblazoned with Wondrich’s monogram and a Latin phrase translating to “Let us eat, drink and be merry. After death, there is no pleasure.”
This set comes with eight Georgian stemmed punch glasses and the Captain Morris ladle, also by Wondrich. The white stoneware punch bowl is dishwasher safe, as are the punch glasses, though you’ll want to wash the ladle by hand given its wood-capped handle and silver plating.
Best Metal: Alchemade Hammered Heavy Gauge 5 Liter Copper Punch Bowl
This is about as unbreakable as it gets. Alchemade’s hammered punch bowl is made of 100% pure copper, ideal for a batch of Moscow Mules (aesthetically speaking) or any other punch recipe. This bowl is finished with a food-safe lacquer and holds approximately five liters of liquid. Note that metal bowls should be used to serve cold drinks only; be sure to wash this one by hand and dry with a soft cloth.
Related: The Best Moscow Mule Mugs
Best Budget: Viski 2.5 Gallon Raye Footed Punch Bowl
If you’re looking for a straightforward, no-frills punch bowl that still delivers on quality, look no further than this Viski footed punch bowl. This piece is made from crystal-clear glass and is uncomplicated in its design, but serves as a beautiful centerpiece nonetheless—when not in use, you can always keep this punch bowl out on your table or countertop as a stately fruit bowl, and for serving, it’s likely that you already have glassware that could easily match up with the Viski Raye bowl given its simplicity and clean lines. If not, though, you can always find a few classic bodega glasses or vintage teacups that won’t cost an arm and a leg, which is always a plus.
Best Splurge: Barski European Handmade Centerpiece Footed Crystal Punch Bowl
Barski’s mouth-blown crystal statement bowl is the ultimate centerpiece. A fruit bowl by day and attention-grabbing drink vessel by night, this large 8-liter punch bowl is as heavy as they come, sitting proudly atop its own pedestal for maximum visual effect. Be sure to hand-wash this 14-pound behemoth to keep the crystal (and your dishwasher) in top condition.
Best Set: Godinger Monterey Crystal 10-Piece Punch Set
A punch bowl’s communal nature can only be brought to its true potential by a set of matching cups. Godinger’s iridescent mouth-blown crystal 10-piece punch set has it all; with a 5.5-liter glass bowl, 8 matching cups, and an equally pearlescent ladle, this is a perfect option for tea-inspired punches or a thoughtful gift. Note that each of these pieces should be hand-washed and dried in order to maintain their iridescent finish.
Related: The Best Beverage Dispensers
Best Small: Pyrex Prepware 1.5 Quart Mixing Bowl
One could argue that a mini punch bowl is simply a glass, but we digress—sometimes all you need is a perfect small batch for intimate gatherings, and this plain old Pyrex bowl gets the job done better than most. This is an extremely durable bowl and is the perfect size for a small batch of drinks that’ll serve anywhere from four to eight friends or more, again depending on the alcohol content.
Best of all, buying a Pyrex bowl for your modestly-sized punch won’t break the bank, and will serve plenty of other purposes in the kitchen when not in use for communal cocktailing. This bowl is dishwasher-safe and heat resistant, and it comes with a two-year warranty.
Best Large: Elegance Hammered 3 Gallon Stainless Steel Double-Walled Champagne and Punch Bowl
Serving punch or something chilled outside on a hot summer day? This double-walled vessel is your new best friend, thanks to its generous capacity and ability to keep drinks cold for an impressively long time. Whether you’re filling it with ice and champagne bottles or serving up a big batch of your famous spiked punch, this is the perfect bowl for larger functions held for extended periods of time.
Related: Best Gifts for Bartenders
Best for Hot Cocktails: Crock-Pot 6 Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot cocktails might not be something that immediately comes to mind when hosting, but trust us—piping hot punch is a game-changer. Mastering the art of hot large-format cocktails is easier than it sounds, and a good way to get started is to take a hot cocktail you personally enjoy (excluding the Blue Blazer) and scale it up based on the capacity of your slow cooker.
In this case, you’ve got six quarts to work with, which translates to somewhere between 25 and 40 cocktails, depending on the alcohol content of the drink. Or, you can simply check out one of our hot punch recipes and go to town. Either way, know that you’ve made a sound investment, as your Crock-Pot will undoubtedly prove just as useful in the kitchen as it is behind the bar.
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Céline Bossart has been covering the wine and spirits scenes for over eight years and has been steadily building her glassware collection along the way. Currently, her favorite punch bowl is David Wondrich and Cocktail Kingdom’s set with glasses, ladle, and all; in the winter months you can find her whipping up a hot gin punch in her trusty Crock-Pot.