Wagner Family Secret Champagne Punch

Wagner Family Secret Champagne Punch

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  1. This ancient family recipe has been handed down for a generation, which implies that my mother is ancient, because I believe that she’s the one who came up with it years ago.  A long time fan of all things alcoholic, she had a very good time perfecting this recipe over a series of half-remembered weekends, I suspect.

    A small anecdote to go with the recipe.  This was served at my cousin’s wedding.  I was maybe 12 at the time and my sister was about 7.  Our folks allowed us to have a couple pieces of fruit from the punch bowl, and when we hit up our uncle for more fruit, he filled our glasses to the top, and with a lot more than mere fruit… repeatedly.  He did this for everyone at the reception, especially the Best Man.  At one point, I overheard the following conversation between another cousin’s psychiatrist husband and the drunken Best Man:

    Psychiatrist: “Hot in here, isn’t it?”

    Best Man: “Sure is.”

    Psychiatrist: “Boy… I’d sure love to cool off.  How about you?”

    Best Man: “Yeah… that would be great.”

    Psychiatrist: “You know… there’s a pool in the backyard.”

    Best Man: “You don’t say.

    In seconds the Best Man, still in his tuxedo, including the shoes, was doing the backstroke while everyone else—except the psychiatrist—tried to coax him out of the pool.  (The psychiatrist, meanwhile, stood in the shadows watching and stroking his beard with detached intrigue.  It’s true what they say: only the insane seek careers in psychiatry.)


    So, serve this punch at your next wedding (or any other occasion), but be sure of two things: Don’t invite any psychiatrists to the event, and warn your guests, because this punch is much stronger than it tastes.

    Here’s what you do (makes about 50 cups):

    1. Chill one qt. charged water (soda water) and 2 qt. champagne in the fridge overnight

    2. Place an “ice ring” (into which you can freeze citrus slices and maraschino cherries) in a large punch bowl; you can use large chunks of ice as an alternative.

    3. Add:

    • 1 oz. white maraschino liqueur
    • 2 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
    • 1 pt. sherry
    • 1 pt. brandy
    • 1 qt. soda water (chilled)
    • 2 qt. champagne (chilled)
    • Add slices of (preferably peeled) orange, lemon, lime and maraschino cherries (remove stems)
    • Stir, allow to chill and serve

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