2021 ends in two days, which means it’s time for the final dispatch from our month-long Punch Party. My, what fun we’ve had! We sung the praises of sherbet punch, which is the closest you can get to total euphoria without rigging up a bungee cord. We dove into the oddly yeasty origins of wassail, a holiday punch that serves as both a noun and a verb. We covered milk punch, a beverage that is both punchy and not punchy at all. And last week, we discussed the glories of the humble ice ring, a necessity for punch parties of all sizes.
When brainstorming this week’s column, I asked myself two questions. First, what is there left to say about punch? Second, how do we celebrate the end of another frankly abominable year? Then I realized that answer to both is simple: champagne punch.
This week, I’ll keep it brief. I’m not going to pretend that champagne punch is the classiest way to imbibe on New Year’s Eve. To prepare a punch bowl’s worth of the stuff, you’re going to need a lot of champagne—which, in my case, means reaching for the cheapies. But it does seem like the perfect way to say farewell to 2021, a true Bond villain of a year. Plus, champagne has been a go-to celebratory beverage for centuries, ever since Julius Caesar tipped it back to celebrate the new year.
With that in mind, here’s your permission to get tanked on champagne punch. You could make a classy punch (this one’s got rosemary!), but you should also feel free to dump a ton of cheap champagne into a bowl, top it with fruit juice or sherbet, throw some maraschino cherries in there, and let it all hang out until the ball drops. I’ll probably be doing the latter.
In closing, I’ll say this: 2021, you very nearly killed me. But here I stand, hovering over a punch bowl full of Walgreens champagne, armed with an extra-large ladle and the unquenchable holiday joy of the chronically naive. With that, I’ll take a hearty glug of the stuff and say farewell, 2021. Farewell, and kiss my punch-drunk tush.