Why You Shouldn't Make Punch Too Far In Advance

What's sweet, refreshing, and presented at almost any kind of party? A drink that's "punched" with flavors, of course! So punch, according to Better Homes & Gardens, is a tangy combination of juice, carbonated drinks, fresh fruit slices, a punch base, and sometimes alcohol for the grown-ups. Recipes often yield a large amount of punch, which is why it's best for large crowds. You'll usually see punch in a bowl or a pitcher, but sometimes, an ice ring will be presented as the star of the show. For an extra dash of creativity, punch glasses can be garnished with edible flowers, paper umbrellas, or fruit kabobs — which results in gorgeously colorful drinks that are worthy of social media photos.

Punch is also a snap to make and can be assembled ahead of time, which means more time for the host to enjoy the party and less time grabbing individual drinks for a crowd. But the problem lies in making punch too far in advance, and we'll spill the secrets on why that's a bad idea.

Watered down flavors

There are a few reasons why punch won't taste as good if you get too big of a head start with it. For starters, all those ice cubes will melt — which will water down the punch base, juice, and carbonated drinks, per The Kitchn. It's best to add ice cubes right before serving, or, as Blue Flame Kitchen suggests, pour some extra punch in ice cube trays, then freeze them for new and improved ice cubes. You can also opt for frozen fruits like strawberries or grapes, as these won't dilute the flavor as much.

Carbonation may pose another problem if added too far in advance to the punch mixture. As chemistry consultant Mark Jones puts it, "Carbon dioxide dissolved inside [an opened can or bottle of soda] eventually bubbles out, which comes into equilibrium with the carbon dioxide in the outside air." And without those fizzy bubbles, the soda becomes flat, which makes the entirety of the punch taste flat too.

So when should you make punch? Better Homes & Gardens recommends combining juice with a punch base, which typically consists of water, sugar, and a can of frozen juice concentrate, and leaving this in the fridge for no more than 24 hours. (This mixture should be covered by the way.) When it's party time, add in the carbonated drink(s) of your choice, as well as the stir-ins like fruit slices or alcohol. And one more final step: Sit back and enjoy the best-tasting punch.