Planning a summer party or holiday feast? A traditional punch bowl set makes for a fantastic addition to any table presentation, as well as a useful way to serve large-format cocktails like spring and summer sangrias, fall punches, and winter eggnogs.
The history of the punch bowl predates even that of the cocktail as we know it: One of the earliest mentions can be found in 1682, when Massachusetts Bay’s colonial governor John Winthrop made note of one punch bowl for sale in Boston. Sailors in the 17th century were also known to mix their drinks directly in the bowl, and by the 18th century, porcelain and silver bowls had become emblematic of status in colonial households—their size representing a family’s standing in society. While punch has fallen in and out of favor throughout the centuries, the relatively recent rise of craft cocktail culture has led to a rediscovery of batched drinks, and as a result, their timelessly elegant vessels.
Often accompanied by a decorative ladle and sometimes miniature serving cups, punch bowls can come in a variety of materials, ranging from ceramic and porcelain to cut glass, silver, and vintage crystal. Depending on the style you’re looking for, you may be better off perusing your local thrift shop. But if you’re in a rush, to whip up fruity summertime sangria recipes or one of our best fall punch recipes, here are 10 excellent punch bowls you can buy right now.
Spirits historian David Wondrich joins forces with industry barware favorites Cocktail Kingdom on this 18th century-style collection. The centerpiece, a white stoneware bowl ($39.95), is adorned with a decal of the Cicero quote “Edamus bibamus gaudeamus. Post mortem nulla voluptas,” meaning “Let us eat, drink, enjoy life, after death there is no pleasure.” It’s complemented by the English-style Captain Morris ladle ($59.95), the French-style Turenne ladle ($64.95), and Georgian-era stemmed glasses (four for $24.95).
Green glass punch bowls were all the rage around the 1950s and '60s. Etsy is a treasure trove for these vintage emerald-hued punch bowls, which can go for up to $500. We love this mid-century number with 12 serving cups and 15 hooks for hanging them by their handles when not in use. Though the individual items sell out quickly, you can always browse Etsy for something similar that’s bound to appear.
German manufacturer Jasba produces this colorfully offbeat ceramic set that works for hot or cold drinks. Decorated in patterns of red, blue, and gray, the vintage 1970’s set comes with the bowl pot and six serving mugs.
Crowning a mango-wood base with a wide, mouth-blown glass bowl, this punch bowl set also comes with a stainless steel ladle and four serving cups. The industrial-meets-natural raw elements make it a versatile vessel for both sparkling summer numbers and fruity autumn pours.
Silver was one of the most popular materials for punch bowls of yore, symbolizing nobility through the 19th century. Vintage sets, like this stunning number from F.B. Rogers International Silver Co., can now be found drifting around the Internet for bargain prices. Though a little pricier than most glass options, this particular set really gets the job done with a chic serving tray and 18 cups.
Famed European crystal house Waterford is known for its crystal stemware, bowls, and dinnerware. In the punchbowl department, we’d splurge on this limited-edition, Alana-patterned number—which comes with six matching glasses—created by Waterford’s late chief designer Miroslav Havel. Looking for something more affordable? Waterford’s more classic peacock bowl ($650) and Irish-influenced Clare bowl ($495) are excellent substitutes.
These mid-century milk glasses—named after the once popular eggnog-like Tom and Jerry cocktail—are perfect for boozy nogs and other wintry sips. This classic embossed design was created by Hazel Atlas, once the largest glass manufacturer in the world, for the holiday season.
Holding over two gallons of liquid, this modern, swirling glass bowl is both elegant and functional. With a rounded fish bowl shape, it’s perfect for showcasing floating garnishes like colorful flowers and bright citrus wheels.
Ideal for the homemaker who puts everything in a Mason jar, this glass jar and steel ladle set can be used at picnic and barbecues for a touch of charm.
Make like Clark Griswold and Cousin Eddie from the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation series with this whimsical glass replica of the film’s moose-inspired punch bowl. The set includes four moose mugs.