Now, isn't that a pretty bowl of punch? It is cold and frothy and yummy-sweet with all that sherbet melting in it and leaving delicious little bits of fruit at the bottom of your cup that have soaked up all the melty bits...it's like the nectar of the gods. And best of all, it is non-alcoholic, so the kids can dip into it right along with the grownups and the subsequent staggering around and giggling and then throwing up in the kitchen wastebasket they do will be totally because of their sugar overload and not because you have taken their sweaty little hands and led them down the road to drunkenness and ruin.
(If you're having a grown-up kind of festive party, though, and you want to spike it with as much vodka as you think is necessary, that's your own lookout: I don't know how much to tell you to add, however, so you might want to experiment and keep the alcohol content below the level where your party guests end up spending the night on your front lawn. That really bothers the neighbors.)
Once you've scooped your sherbert into the ring mold and got it frozen, this punch goes together in a matter of minutes. You can also experiment with different kinds of juices for a different taste (or if you want a different color of punch, say), but this is the one that I know is definitely good.
PERFECT PARTY PUNCH
Items needed - ring mold, punch bowl of at least 2 gallons
1 gallon sherbet, either multicolored as pictured above (raspberry/orange/lime) or raspberry
1 chilled bottle Hawaiian Punch fruit punch or similar (found in the fruit juice aisle, not the soft drink aisle - this is the size roughly equivalent to a 2-liter bottle, although I'm not sure how many ounces that is)
1 chilled bottle lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite, 7-Up, Sierra Mist or even ginger ale - you can use diet soda, if you'd prefer
1 can orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 cups sugar
1 can of chunked pineapple, drained
1 small jar of stemless maraschino cherries, drained
about a cup of seedless red and green grapes, washed and de-stemmed, optional
The day before you plan to serve the punch, allow the sherbet to sit out on the kitchen counter until it has softened a bit. When it is soft enough to scoop easily, spoon it into a ring mold such as a Bundt cake pan and press it down, filling the entire mold. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer to firm up until the next day.
When you're ready to serve the punch, run about two inches of warm water in the sink and place the ring mold in it for a minute or so to soften the sherbet a bit. Remove the ring mold from the sink and invert your punch bowl over it, doing a careful flip so that the ring of sherbet stays in the punch bowl and doesn't throw itself to the floor. Turn the punch bowl right side up and lift the ring mold off the sherbet.
Pour the thawed orange juice concentrate into the center hole of the sherbet ring; add the two cups of sugar following. Alternate pouring the fruit punch and the lemon-lime soda onto the orange juice-sugar combination until your punch bowl is full, but not so full that it overflows when you put the ladel in the punch bowl and fill the first few cups -- I made that mistake, ONCE. Give everything a gentle stir with a long spoon.
Once the punch has been stirred, alternate pouring the pineapple chunks and cherries into the hole in the sherbet ring, starting with the pineapple because it's bigger and will form a base. You can also add the grapes into this mix if you'd like.
Carry the punch bowl to your serving table and pour into little cups for your guests, including one for yourself because it is just soooo goooood.
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