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Jungle Juice 101: The History Behind Beloved Trashcan Punch

If you're like any American, you've had your fair share of hazy stories that sprung from this intoxicating mix of jungle and juice. This wicked concoction is best at getting people good and drunk, for cheap. We all have our stories, so now let's learn the history behind the best way to get a group of people trashed.

Along the way, there have been many variations of Jungle Juice, from more simple versions in its early years to more intricate versions featuring orange juice, Hawaiian punch, ice cream, fruit juice, and everything in between. It all, unsurprisingly, starts with America.

The Beginning of Hunch Punch

Jungle Juice was born out of the necessity to keep sobriety at bay by soldiers located in jungles abroad, specifically U. S. soldiers stationed in the Southwest Pacific during WWII.

The United States did not provide its soldiers with booze, so being Americans, they channeled their industriousness and made their own hooch.

They fermented anything sugar-based they could get their hands on, and the result was often a boozy, swampy-looking 100-proof elixir of rum punch that was sure to get you good and smashed.

They mixed their swamp water with whatever they could find, often lemonade, and thus, the birth of our nation's go-to party beverage was born.

How to Make Jungle Juice

The basic rules for Jungle Juice are a combination of grain alcohol, juice, and fruit in any container that will hold it. I've seen it in actually trashcans which made me question the origins of said trashcan, but I happily drank anyway.

This potent blend of punch can also be held in anything from a plugged (clean!) sink to an emptied ice chest to a plastic storage container to an adorable mason jar container. A large container, punch bowl, or large pitcher is the best for serving, but you can use whatever you have on hand.

The liquor-soaked fruit is an essential part of the recipe. It is fun to snack on and packs its own powerful kick. Try a mixture of Peach Schnapps, pineapple juice, sliced strawberries, orange slices, watermelon cubes, lemonade, and vodka for a potent drink that could be considered Strawberry Jungle Juice. Go for Bacardi rum for a darker alcohol flavor, or Malibu coconut rum for a Caribbean flavor.

Jungle Juice is like the trashier little brother of sangria, and can really be a mix of whatever. Every Jungle Juice recipe is different, so pick your poison of rum, vodka, Everclear, tequila, triple sec, or whiskey, and add one type of liquor or use them all.

If your mix still tastes like swill, top it off with Sprite/soda water and fruit punch. This is a drink of necessity, not of lavishness. Add various fruits, and include the juice if you use canned fruits. I suggest pears always.

When it comes to how to make jungle juice, it's hard to mess up. If it's too boozy, add some cranberry juice, lime juice, or pink lemonade. Add a fresh mint garnish to prevent like you're classy.

With recipes gifted like beloved heirlooms, they are often shrouded in secrecy, only shown by the teacher to the student as an oral tradition to be passed on through the generations.

Depending on what part of the country you came of age in, the names of this potent potion can range from, Trashcan Punch, Spodie, Death, Blackout Juice, Tropical Punch, Wapatoola, Wop, or Grain Punch.

In one of my friend families, we call it Family Recipe, and though I cannot divulge the recipe, I will say we add Kool-Aid packets to help with the taste. Ours is more of a lemonade punch much like that of the soldiers based in the jungle, with Everclear as an essential ingredient.

Eat a carbohydrate-filled dinner beforehand, as you'll need all the carbs you can get to soak up all that liqueur in your future. Also, keep in mind that there is a two-drink maximum, which is typical with most Jungle Juices. Beware, if you go for drink number three you will most likely be hugging the toilet for the rest of the night.

Want a specific jungle juice cocktail recipe? The Tipsy Bartender has you covered with his Epic Margarita Jungle Juice.

Jungle Juice is rebellious, it's industrious, and was born out of a necessity to enjoy some much-needed merriment. When it comes down to it, Jungle Juice is about as American as you can get.

The next time you partake in this devilish mixture remember the fallen, remember the fierce and remember the history of your beloved party punch.

This post was originally published on February 25, 2019.