Your Dutch Oven Can Double As A Beautiful Punch Bowl

As pretty as a glass punch bowl can be, it really does not do a great job of keeping said punch cold, and a lukewarm beverage is just so sad. You can, of course, chill it with ice, but a watered-down punch is also less than ideal. The best way to keep your punch at the perfect temperature is by using your Dutch oven. That's right — your Dutch oven is great not just for ensuring soups, chili, and braises stay roasty toasty, but it does a fantastic of keeping its contents cold as well.

The majority of Dutch ovens are made out of cast iron, which is heavy and durable. The thick walls and base retain heat beautifully, and that retention works both ways. A Dutch oven will also hold cold temperatures. Putting your chilled punch into one to serve will keep your drink colder for longer. Plus, since a Dutch oven has handles, it is a lot easier to move and refill than a standard slippery glass bowl.

What kind of Dutch oven should you use?

You could technically use any Dutch oven for this purpose as they will all provide insulation, but for both aesthetic and functional reasons, it is best to use an enameled Dutch oven, like a Le Creuset pan. Both traditional and enameled Dutch ovens are made with cast iron, but enameled Dutch ovens have a coating over the iron. This coating is smooth and non-stick, and unlike traditional cast iron, enameled cast iron can be washed with soap. Enameled Dutch ovens also come in lots of fun colors that can help to create the festive vibe you want for specific celebrations.

Traditional Dutch ovens that have exposed cast iron have a slightly rough surface and must be cared for by seasoning them regularly. Seasoning cast iron requires creating a nonstick layer through polymerization where oil is essentially cooked onto the surface of the pan until it is carbonized. While using a seasoned cast iron Dutch oven would not be harmful, it is possible that some residual oil might mix into the liquid of your drink of choice.

Tips for getting the most out of the Dutch oven punch bowl hack

If you are pinched for time, putting your punch into a room-temperature Dutch oven will still provide great insulation, but you can get the most out of this heavy-duty pan by popping it in the refrigerator or freezer first. If you don't have space in your fridge, fill the Dutch oven with ice water and let it sit for a few minutes before filling it with punch. That way, you are serving your punch out of something that acts like a bowl-shaped ice pack.

If you are wanting to keep the libations flowing all night long, you probably will have to refill your punch bowl and won't have time to chill your Dutch oven again. In that case, you are going to need some ice. Skip the usual ice, and make ice cubes with something that won't water down your punch. Freeze a portion of the beverage itself, or make flavored ice cubes with a complimentary taste like fruit juice, flavored seltzer, soda, or sparkling wine. This is also a great use for reusable plastic or stainless steel ice cubes, or you can even use frozen fruit!