Orange Bourbon Punch

I was so excited B and I had a golden weekend, so we could see my favorite brother, Hans, graduate from college at UT Austin! We flew to San Antonio to meet my family, then we all drove up to Austin.

Stanford has a ton of school pride, but I don’t think any school can compare to the fervor of UT Austin students (except perhaps Texas A&M).  I’ve never seen so much burnt orange at once!

We had a mini family reunion, and my grandparents flew from the Philippines to see us. Fortunately, they’ve been blessed with good health and have attended every single graduation in the family. Even better, we double celebrated my grandmother’s birthday and my brother’s graduation with the most epic of Filipino feasts.
Since UT Austin is so massive, each department graduation is done separately; then, on Saturday evening there is a massive group commencement. I’d never been to a graduation at night but I was grateful to avoid any additional heat. The graduation ended with a massive fireworks show – Texas always goes big!

One of the best commencement speeches I’ve ever heard was by Admiral McRaven, who gave the UT Austin Commencement Speech in 2014. It’s been viewed over 6.5 million times on UT’s Youtube channel, and if you ever need inspiration, just listen to it! It’s succinct, poignant, humorous, and powerful – most people don’t recall their graduation speakers but his is unforgettable.

For the graduation weekend festivities, I made this Orange Bourbon Punch adapted from My Recipes. We had a lot of oranges and orange juice to use up, so this drink was perfect. My family always has bourbon on hand to make bourbon pecan pie.
This punch was super refreshing for the Texas heat (the bourbon ratio is decreased as my family are light drinkers, but you could certainly add more). Enjoy!

Orange Bourbon Punch

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
3 1/2 refrigerated fresh orange mango juice (I used Trader Joe’s)
1-2 cups bourbon (depending on desired strength)
1 bottle sparkling pear juice
fresh orange slices, to garnish

Combine sugar and 1/3 cup water in a glass. Microwave for about 1 minute and stir until sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature for your simple syrup.

Combine simple syrup, orange mango juice, bourbon, and sparkling pear juice in a large pitcher; stir well. Add orange slices. Refrigerate until ready to serve (ice optional). Enjoy!

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