Using regular ice cubes will indeed water down a bowl of punch as the evening progresses. Here are a few basic tricks that’ll make sure your punch doesn’t lose its oomph while guests circulate.
1. Mix and freeze some punch ahead of time in ice cube trays, and then add them to the punch bowl throughout the evening. As the melting cubes are the same strength as the punch, they won’t water it down. Make more punch-based ice cubes than you expect will be necessary so you don’t run out early and resort to using regular ice cubes in their place. Don’t let leftovers go to waste! Add any remaining punch cubes to glasses sparkling water for a fruity twist on the otherwise basic beverage.
2. Mix fruit concentrate with water, as per instructions on the concentrate, and freeze in an ice cube tray. Use a juice you’re already including in the punch to prevent clashing of flavours, or use a couple different kinds to keep the flavours balanced.
3. Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes. Of course it’s best to use fruits that complement the punch, but there are certain ones that will hold up a little better than others over time. Small berries like blueberries are raspberries will thaw quite quickly, where larger, firmer fruit will remain frozen for a longer period of time. Opt for whole frozen strawberries, peach slices, grapes, or frozen, cubed mango or pineapple.
Don’t have time to whip up flavoured ice cubes? Keep the punch chilled without watering it down by presenting it in a smaller punch bowl. Refill the bowl throughout the evening from a pitcher that has been refrigerated; going this route will cut down on the amount of ice you’ll need in the punch altogether.