I am no stranger to fruit punches, even though I seldom if ever make them myself. The first time I tried one I was six years old. It's also the first time I got drunk (nobody's fault but my own, I hasten to add).

Rose (yes, she who owned the small private psychogeriatric hospital that my mother managed) had many, many young nephews and nieces and family friends. When it came time for them to marry, she would often cater the wedding reception as her gift to them. The staff from the hospital who were not on duty (plus all her best friends) would pitch in to help.

This photo shows the first such reception I attended. From left to right: Mrs Gregg, my mother, me, my mother's best friend Jan, and Eunice, who went on to marry the manager of the best Auckland movie theatre EVER (I never had to pay to see a movie there in my life).

Unbeknownst to me at the age of six, Rose had spiked the "fruit" punch with alcohol. Unbeknownst to everyone else, I helped myself liberally.

I ended up singing to myself in one of the stainless-steel cabinets in the kitchen that had sliding doors. The dark was comforting in the extreme. And that's how they found me. I seem to recall it was Jan who drove me home.

The last punch I tried was at a party held in a charity shop. They made sangria to this recipe (I've tweaked it a bit).

Serves six.


1 x 70cl bottle of a light-bodied red wine, chilled

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons Cointreau or Grand Marnier

3/4 - 1 scant tablespoon of sugar

1 orange, washed, halved, and finely sliced

1/2 a lemon, washed, halved, and finely sliced

1 peach, washed, stoned, and sliced

5 strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved or left whole

1 cup sparkling water, chilled

ice cubes



Pour the wine into a punch bowl or large enough serving jug.


Add the orange juice.


Add the Cointreau.


Stir the sugar in well till it mostly dissolved.


Add the fruit, the sparkling water, and some ice cubes. Serve in glasses, adding a couple of ice cubes to each, and making sure that everyone gets some of the fruit.


Any questions? You can use the comments form at the bottom of the page.

Did you know?

You'll find recipes at the back of all the books in the Send for Octavius Guy series:

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