First Lady Justice announces West Virginia Birthday Punch Contest winners


First Lady Justice announces West Virginia Birthday Punch Contest Winners
CHARLESTON, WV – In honor of West Virginia's 160th birthday in 2023, First Lady Cathy Justice hosted a West Virginia Birthday Punch Contest.

Cindy Scott of Morgantown was named the grand prize winner with her recipe – “Mountain Mama Refresher.”
“Mountain Momma’s Refresher” was selected as the best of the best among four outstanding punch recipes that were selected as finalists in the contest. All finalist punch recipes were taste-tested by the First Lady, Gov. Jim Justice, Chief of Staff to the First Lady Vicki Shannon, Special Assistant to the First Lady Katie Morris, Special Liaison to First Lady Justice Serena Nichols, and other staff members.

Mountain Mama’s Refresher
Cindy Scott | Morgantown, WV


1 frozen concentrated orange juice (12 oz)
1 frozen concentrated lemonade (12 oz)
2 2-liters Ginger Ale 
1 jar maraschino cherries (include juice) (16 oz)
1 can mandarin oranges (drained)

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl.

Ingredients for Punch Ring:
1 jar maraschino cherries (include juice)
1 can mandarin oranges (drained)

Method for Punch Ring:
Combine all ingredients and freeze in a Bundt pan.

Makes 35-40 servings

Does your punch recipe have a special story? Is it a family recipe or a unique creation?
When my best friend (Sandy Murdock) and I were in college at WVU (37 years ago), we hosted a party. Because neither of us liked punch recipes with sherbet ice cream and it was an evening party as opposed to a baby shower, we decided to make our own recipe. We added the ingredients that were accessible to us. We had maraschino cherries and intended to just add the fruit but ended up adding the entire jar. We soon learned that the maraschino cherry juice was the key ingredient to a sweet, tasty punch. Back then, we may have added a little alcohol,too.

As we both graduated from college, started working, got married, had kids, and subsequently hosted many birthday parties, graduation celebrations, work events, and numerous other family holidays, this punch has always been at the center of our gatherings. We later added the mandarin oranges and permanently removed the Southern Comfort (alcohol). When my son saw this contest, he forwarded the link to me to enter because he immediately knew our punch recipe is often discussed, and frequently requested, within our circle of family and friends. 

Why do you think this is the best punch to honor West Virginia's birthday?
It is so refreshing and light with an unexpected sweetness - just like West Virginia. It doesn’t look special, but with 1 sip, you will know it is. Reminds me of my home state. Sometimes WV is undervalued, but give it a try, and you will soon realize that we are unique and have so much to offer. Everyone appreciates a little unexpected sweetness. 
Apple Orchard Punch
Craig Turk | Westover, WV
  • 32 oz. golden delicious apple juice, chilled
  • 1 can (12 oz.) frozen concentrated cranberry juice 
  • 1 ½ liters Ginger Ale
  • 3/4 oz. clover honey syrup
  • 3/4 freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. Combine all ingredients except for ginger ale. 
  2. Mix well.
  3. Pour in ginger ale and add ice. 
  4. Garnish with slices of Golden Delicious apples. 
  5. Enjoy!

Makes 16-20 servings

Does your punch recipe have a special story? Is it a family recipe or a unique creation?
The Golden Delicious apple is the state fruit of West Virginia.  It represents everything sweet and crisp about West Virginia.

Why do you think this is the best punch to honor West Virginia's birthday?
It IS the best punch because it represents the state's fruit.
Peggy Erwin’s Punch
Deloris Harless | St. Albans, WV
  • 2 3 oz packages lemon Jello (use flavor for desired color)
  • 1 3 oz package orange-pineapple Jello - 3 oz
  • 3 cups water per package of Jello
  • 4 cups sugar and 4 cups water, boiled together
  • 1 - 16 oz bottle lemon juice (Peggy uses real lemon)
  • 2 - 46 oz cans pineapple juice
  • 2 large bottles Ginger Ale, Sprite or Seven-Up (Peggy prefers Seven-Up)

  1. Mix Jello with water (use 3 cups of water per 3 oz package of Jello) until dissolved. 
  2. Add boiled water and sugar, lemon juice, and pineapple juice to Jello and water mixture. 
  3. Stir together.
  4. Freeze in plastic for 4 hours. (Peggy freezes way ahead)
  5. Remove from the freezer and pour Ginger Ale, Sprite or Seven-Up over it.
  6. Enjoy!

Makes 50 servings
Wild and Wonderful Frozen Banana Punch
Janet Perry Sheldon | St. Albans, WV
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 12 oz. can frozen orange juice, thawed, undiluted
  • 6 oz. can frozen lemonade, thawed, undiluted
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2  2-liters 7-UP or Ginger Ale

  1. Blend together mashed bananas, the thawed, undiluted orange juice and lemonade, and sugar. 
  2. Add the pineapple juice and water. 
  3. Stir together.
  4. Pour into a freezable container (ex. Tupperware)
  5. Freeze until frozen (about 10 hours). Can stay frozen for up to 3 months.
  6. Half an hour before serving: Put frozen mixture into a punch bowl and add the 7-UP or Ginger Ale. You can mix with a hand held mixer to make mixing easier. Punch will be slushy.  (If it melts but still remains cold, it still tastes great!)

Makes around 25 servings

Does your punch recipe have a special story? Is it a family recipe or a unique creation?
This punch recipe has been in the family for over 50 years! It's been served at most of the baby and bridal showers, family functions, and reunions that have occurred in the Perry Family that live in St. Albans and the surrounding area. It is a refreshing punch in the summertime, but also a nice tropical drink for brunches in the winter or at special occasions such as Christmas and Easter. 

Why do you think this is the best punch to honor West Virginia's birthday?
Not only is the color of the punch representative of WV's State Colors (Blue & Gold), but it is the best punch ever just like West Virginia is the best state ever! The punch flavor is "Wild and Wonderful" just like our state motto!

Contact Information

Jordan Damron,; CJ Harvey,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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