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Eat Like a Freshman: Red Party Punch

This recipe from the UW Archives packs a punch.


  • 1 six-ounce can of frozen lemonade, diluted to three cups of lemonade
  • 1 ½ quarts of cranberry or cherry juice (I split the difference and went with cran-cherry.)
  • 1 three-ounce package of cherry gelatin
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1 quart of ginger ale
  • Ice cubes
  • Raspberry sherbet


Dissolve gelatin in hot water. Mix with other liquid ingredients. Pour over ice cubes. Garnish with scoops of sherbet.


Gelatin is a common ingredient in many of the “Eat Like a Freshman” articles that we’ve published, but I believe Jell-O juice is a first in the series. Alice De Luc submitted the recipe to How Many Degrees?, a cleverly named cookbook published by the University Dames Club in 1969. De Luc was married to Donald De Luc PhD’70, who later joined the UW faculty.

Apparently a meticulous host, Alice provided several variations of her party punch, so readers could have different color options to stay on theme, including yellow, orange, green, purple, and red. (Blue raspberry wasn’t a popular flavor until the 1970s, but one could now easily develop a blue option, too.) As she notes in her recipe, “Choose ingredients to make a punch of the color that will fit the occasion and your color scheme.”

The red punch was a natural choice for this taste test. I wanted to know if the recipe is worth keeping on hand for any UW-related festivities, like tailgates or graduation parties. (Warning: this color should never be made for a match-up against Ohio State, lest you accidentally signal loyalty to the Buckeyes with ambiguously red party punch.)


The recipe makes for a cheerful drink, especially with the sherbet float element. The Jell-O that I used also added to the fun because it made the punch just viscous enough that the spoon sat on top of the punch instead of sinking to the bottom of the bowl. It felt like I did a magic trick. The mixture wasn’t jellied enough to affect the texture of the liquid when taking a sip, and that was the main question that came to mind when I first saw this recipe.

So, is it worth making? It depends. Personally, I think adding lemon, cherry, cranberry, and raspberry elements to a single drink is gratuitous. The result is quite sour and very sugary. If you’re prone to stomachaches, this recipe might not be for you. But if you can handle a lot of sugar and acid, this is a nice, summery drink that demands the added touch of a tiny umbrella. And if you really want to have a good time, add some liquor, freeze the punch, and use the leftover ginger ale for a Midwestern classic: brandy slush.

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