Why hello! I hope you didn't think I poisoned myself upon returning to booze post-Mocktail Week. Nothing so unfortunate, I assure you - just didn't have much in the way of free time between painting half the house and preparing a massive spread for the 4th of July last week.
In addition to the food, I figured I couldn't just get away with a cooler full of beer. Got a reputation to uphold and all! So I decided on what's rapidly becoming my favorite party trick: a non-alcoholic punch base, served along with a basic white wine for spritzers and a variety of spirits for sundry highballs. Ingredients wound up being dead simple, too; this is probably the easiest punch that I've assembled to date.
The listing below just about fills up a 1-liter bottle of punch base, which makes 2 liters total once combined. I went through about 2 1/2 of these for a mixed group of 14 people, which included some non-drinkers and those who stuck only with the aforementioned cooler of beer. Call it a 1-liter bottle for every 6 people in your party.
8 oz lime juice (you could use fresh, but I used a bottled not-from-concentrate version from the co-op)
8 oz pineapple juice (ditto)
4 oz mint syrup (homemade)
4 oz pineapple-lime syrup (ditto)
8 oz ginger beer (back to my usual Reed's here)
Combine in a 1-liter bottle (or 1-quart mason jar), stuff in a large mint sprig, and fill up the balance with soda water. When ready to serve, pour over ice (straining out the old mint) and top with 1 liter of soda water. Stir to combine, garnish with some fresh mint sprigs, and park next to a couple bottles of chilled white wine, plus whatever spirits you have at hand (gin, white rum, and bourbon in my case). A couple of signs with instructions and some jiggers or shot glasses are helpful too - these will encourage your guests to measure, rather than free-pouring.
Happy belated Independence Day to my fellow 'Mericans!