In searching for the perfect purple punch for a party, we were left with few options and a lot of questions. What goes in a punch? Do the ingredients matter? Are some better than others?
Setting up the Taste Test
This is our journey through a purple punch taste test to answer these questions! We’ve outlined our steps and findings here so you can conduct your own taste test. Testing before your event is especially important if it’s a new recipe you haven’t tried before.
To get the most out of your testing:
- make sure you have at least a couple of volunteer testers to get different perspectives (an odd number can help break any voting ties),
- plan on trying 3-5 different recipes (more than five can be too many),
- provide a clean cup for each new taste, and
- number and label the samples so the discussion and voting are easier.
Through our testing we did find that the ingredients mattered. Here are the standard punch ingredients and what purpose they each served in the overall recipe:
- Juice: This seemed to be the most important factor for taste and color.
- Soda: This gave a nice fizziness to the texture that made it feel festive.
- Other: This is usually the pizzaz that takes it from everyday to special day and can be a specialty juice, sherbet, ice cream, etc.
Purple Punch Recipe Variations
Search online first to get a good scratch recipe. We found this excellent one for purple punch here: “Pretty Purple Punch” by Debbie Based on the author’s notes, we started with Welch’s grape juice and Sprite. The third ingredient was pineapple juice, and that is where we substituted for the different options. We kept the first taste test as the original pineapple juice, and then used pineapple sherbet for the second, lime sherbet for the third, and vanilla ice cream for the fourth.
NOTE: While the notecards in the pictures say “sorbet”, they definitely were not; they were sherbet. Our apologies for the mistakes!
Once we lined up small glasses for each person for each option, we poured the base mixture (Welch’s + Sprite). We then went back and added the third ingredient to each one. Because these are small samples, you can see that it was only a fourth to a half cup of punch with a single spoon scoop or sherbet / ice cream to each one. Don’t bother making a full drink for each option: it will be wasted!
Here you can get a better overview picture of the four options side-by-side for comparison:
Option 1: Original Recipe with Pineapple Juice
First up was the original recipe, which the author recommends keeping cold by freezing some of the grape juice into ice cubes. This is better than regular ice, as it won’t dilute the punch like regular ice when it starts to melt. We skipped the grape juice ice cubes as we were tasting these straight out of the fridge.
This was good and had a nice flavor. Consistency wasn’t a factor because it was just juice and soda.
While good, it was a little… boring. There wasn’t anything special to make it stand out, and it came across as a juice blend rather than punch.
Option 2: Altered Recipe with Pineapple Sherbet
Next up was the pineapple sherbet.
This had a good flavor AND had the extra touch of cold sherbet to give it pizzazz. We think it was more like what people expected from punch.
The only con here was that the pineapple sherbet had chunks of pineapple in it, which some people may not like because it gave a little stringiness in some mouthfuls.
Option 3: Altered Recipe with Lime Sherbet
After that was the lime sherbet. We thought this might work because Sprite is lemon-lime soda, so the lime sherbet might coordinate with the lime flavor in the soda.
Again, the addition of the sherbet took it from just fruit juice to a punch, which was nice.
Nope, the lime sherbet did not work: the taste was not so great. Instead of emphasizing the lime flavor in the soda, it seemed to fight against the grape flavoring. We think it was two strong flavors battling against each other instead of working together.
Option 4: Altered Recipe with Vanilla Ice Cream
Last was the vanilla ice cream, which we thought might taste more like a float than a punch.
This had a good taste and the ice cream gave it a nice creamy touch.
The ice cream actually subdued some of the grape taste and left a slight aftertaste, which was odd. Also, the overall sample felt somehow heavier than the previous ones, probably because of the cream.
So what happened to the punch color after it had sat for a few minutes?
- Option 1: Nothing; it stayed the same.
- Option 2: The pineapple sherbet added a light yellow that edged the color a little more toward dark pink, but overall it stayed purplish.
- Option 3: The lime sherbet added a light green which muddied the color a little.
- Option 4: The vanilla ice cream added white, causing the dark purple to become medium purple (it was quite pretty, actually).
Here is a side look at the foam from the sherbet and ice cream over time. The biggest difference was that the sherbet (two and three) kept its shape longer and the ice cream (four) melted quicker. It also seemed like the ice cream was the foamiest, but it was so close it was hard to say for sure.
Which one won?
Option Two: Pineapple Sherbet!
Everyone voted option two as the best in regards to taste and punchy pizzaz. The first was good but boring, the third wasn’t very good, and the fourth was pretty but not as grape-tasty. In order it was two, four, one, and three.
What are you going to taste test? Feel free to share your findings on our Facebook page. And…