How to make a fruity jungle juice punchbowl that will be a hit at your next party

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How to make a fruity jungle juice punchbowl that will be a hit at your next party
Jungle juice combines various alcohols with juices and cut up fruit to make a boozy punchbowl. thodonal88/Shutterstock
  • Jungle juice is a punchbowl-type drink that features many different alcohols.
  • It's made up primarily of vodka, rum, and various fruit-flavored drinks.
  • Spritz the jungle juice with some club soda to add carbonation and lengthen the drink's life.

If there's one "cocktail" everyone's most likely consumed, but probably never ordered at a bar, it's the perennially famous (and in some cases infamous) jungle juice. An everything-but-the-kitchen-sink type drink, jungle juice is a mix between a Long Island iced tea punch bowl and a sangria.

It most likely started in the basements and apartments of college students as a creative concoction to overindulge, while also making use of any leftover alcohol or beverages people were trying to get rid of.

"[Jungle juice] really truly is an assortment of all different kinds of alcohol, and it's always mixed with sugary additives from juices, fruits, things like that," says Julianna McIntosh, owner and mixologist of Join_Jules. "It really is just an easy way for people to make a big batch drink for at home parties."

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This hodge podge approach brings about many different iterations of jungle juice, with some opting for flavored liqueurs or rums while others even add in various gummy candies.

"It's a punch bowl with a lot of different types of alcohols in it, and that doesn't necessarily have to have this negative connotation," McIntosh says. "There's not one recipe that is the original recipe. It's your own interpretation of what jungle juice is, which is kind of fun."

Best alcohol for jungle juice

McIntosh recommends starting with a neutral spirit like vodka or a grain alcohol like Everclear, since it doesn't impart much flavor and can serve as a solid base. From there, she says, you can start getting creative.

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"When I think of jungle juice, I think tropical," McIntosh says. "So I think rum is a really great thing to add."

While McIntosh typically uses dark rum in her jungle juice, you can also try white, spiced, and flavored rum for a little extra kick.

Quick tip: McIntosh warns would-be mixologists to steer clear of using Kool Aid packets in jungle juice, especially when mixing with Everclear. "It changes the flavor to where you can't even taste the alcohol," McIntosh says. "So if you're just mixing that with vodka, you're drinking straight vodka."

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What you'll need

How to make a fruity jungle juice punchbowl that will be a hit at your next party
Cut up five to eight lemons, limes, and oranges into quarters and let them marinate in the juice and alcohol to infuse more flavor. Oleksandr Yurchak/Getty Images

While this is McIntosh's favorite way to make jungle juice, you can use any combination of alcohol, fruit, juice, and even candy you prefer. McIntosh does recommend keeping the alcohol to juice ratio to thirds - ⅓ for the alcohol and ⅔ for the juices - to ensure the safest experience for guests.

  • One bottle of white rum
  • One bottle of dark rum
  • One bottle of Everclear (optional)
  • Five to eight lemons, limes, and oranges (quartered)
  • One pineapple (without the outer flesh)
  • 3 tablespoons of all-spice
  • 5-7 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 liter of prune or pomegranate juice
  • 1 liter of orange juice
  • 1 liter of pineapple juice
  • Ice (to serve on the side)

Quick tip: While it's easier to buy juices from the store, McIntosh encourages people to make the juices themselves. "I think that it tastes better when it's fresh," she says.

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How to make jungle juice (serves 15 to 20 people)

How to make a fruity jungle juice punchbowl that will be a hit at your next party
Be sure to pour in the alcohol first to get an idea for how much juice is needed. Marcel Kriegl/Shutterstock

  1. Pour in the alcohol. According to McIntosh, it's important to start with the alcohol to get a sense for exactly how much hard liquor there is, and how much juice is needed to balance it out.
  2. Throw in your fruits, cinnamon, and all spice. Allow the citrus to marinate in the alcohol, like a sangria, and infuse even more flavor.
  3. Add in juice and mix. Heighten the fruity and sweet notes more with juice, be it fresh-squeezed or store bought. Serve with ice on the side to keep it from getting watered down.

Quick tip: When serving jungle juice at a party, McIntosh says to add a liter or two of club soda or sparkling water to add carbonation. "It won't change the flavor at all, but it'll stretch out the life a little bit longer throughout the party and it'll give it those bubbles," says McIntosh.

Jungle juice variations

  • Make a tropical treat to sip poolside or at the beach. Use a palette of rums - from spiced to different flavors like pineapple or coconut. Throw together a banana simple syrup for an extra twist.
  • Turn it into a mocktail. Include the kids in the fun by omitting the alcohol and tossing in some candies like Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, or gummy bears.
  • Add a garnish. Elevate the jungle juice with some rosemary or sage to incporate a fanciful flair.

Storing jungle juice

If you have any drink leftover once the party's over, McIntosh says to store it in an airtight container like a Mason jar. You can refrigerate it for three to four days, spritzing it with a little club soda to freshen it up whenever you pull it out to drink again.

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Insider's takeaway

Whether you're trying to make use of leftover alcohol or just want a boozy punch bowl for a pool party, jungle juice is a straightforward and easy-to-make beverage that can be taken in a number of different directions.

Simply mix a combination of rum, vodka, or neutral alcohol with juice, and add sliced fruit to infuse extra flavor. While the juice can be store bought, McIntosh suggests opting for homemade juice instead.

"I like to make it as fresh as you can because it'll just taste better," says McIntosh. "But use what you've got and it will turn out just fine."

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