Punch Up Your Holiday Party with 10 Festive Libations
How did “A Christmas Carol” author Charles Dickens entertain his guests? By serving up a pint of rum mixed with brandy, lemon juice, and sugar -– with the drama ramped up by setting it on fire first, natch.
Fortunately, you can pack a punch for your guests this holiday season without making things nearly as complicated.
READ: Rye Whiskey Makes A Comeback
Setting up a home bar for cozy get-togethers with loved ones can be anything but simple, which is why presenting a big batch of a boozy punch is a terrific option. And you don’t have to settle for the usual (and painfully predictable) spiked eggnog or mulled wine. Mixologists encourage shaking things up with comforting, seasonal ingredients.
“As the weather grows colder and the holidays approach, I always reach for warming ingredients, like cinnamon and ginger,” explains Paul McGee, mixologist and partner of Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago, who’s already preparing festive punches for patrons.
READ: The Nightcap: The Perfect Drink to Warm Up to This Fall
“The bright flavors of winter citrus fruits pair wonderfully with baking spices,” he says. “For example, my Christmas in July punch combines several different rums with spices, citrus, and passionfruit, another winter fruit that’s perfect for either side of the equator.”
Whether you prefer your punch to be piping hot or icy cold, we found 10 festive recipes to jump-start your party:
3 cups CAMUS VS Elegance Cognac
1 ½ pints heavy cream
1 pint milk
1 ½ cups sugar
Separate eggs and yolks. Add 1 cup of sugar to yolks while mixing. Add ½ cup of sugar to whites after they have been mixed and are stiff. Mix egg whites and yolks together. Stir in heavy cream, milk, and cognac. Mix in a large bowl and chill. Top with cinnamon and nutmeg.
(Ray Foley of Bartender Magazine)
Norwegian Julekake Punch
6 parts Wild Turkey Rye
1 part cynar bitter liqueur
2 parts Bols Genever
1 part crème de cassis
2 parts triple sec
2 parts cardamom syrup
6 parts cold earl grey tea
4 parts lemon juice
Combine all ingredients, except pods and dried fruits, in a punch bowl over one large block of ice and serve. Garnish with dried fruits and pods.
(Mixologist Morgan Schick)
Christmas in July
½ oz. Lemon Hart 151 Rum
½ Cockspur 5 Year Rum
1 ½ oz. Scarlet Ibis Rum
½ oz. ginger syrup
¾ oz. Don’s Spices #2
¾ oz. passionfruit syrup
¾ oz. lemon juice
¾ oz. lime juice
Combine all ingredients with crushed ice and blend in a blender for 5 seconds. Pour mixture into punch bowl. Add more crushed ice if needed. Garnish with flowers, cinnamon sticks, orange peels, and paper parasols.
(Paul McGee, mixologist and partner for Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago)
14 oz. Laird’s Applejack
5.25 oz. Rhum Clement Creole Shrubb
3.5 oz. aperol Italian aperitif
3.5 oz. cynar Italian bitter liqueur
1.75 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
7 oz. pumpkin ale
10.5 oz. prosecco
Combine applejack, shrubb, aperol, cynar, and allspice dram in a quart-sized container and refrigerate. Chill prosecco and beer ahead of time. Fill a large punch bowl with large ice, anywhere from 2” cubes and upward, and pour in the batch, followed by prosecco and pumpkin beer. Garnish with orange wheels and mint sprigs.
(Beverage director Dan Carlson of Saul at the Brooklyn Museum in New York)
The Gentleman's Cocktail
20 oz. Jim Beam bourbon
juice of 3-4 lemons, depending on taste
40 oz. apple juice
10 oz. ginger simple syrup
10 oz. vanilla simple syrup
20 oz. Budweiser
slices of frozen and dehydrated apples
Combine lemon juice, bourbon, simple syrups, and apple juice. Stir and top with beer. Freeze slices of apples in a giant ice block to float in your punch bowl. Have dehydrated apple slices to garnish each drink.
(Mixologist Sarah Martin of Bay Street Biergarten in Charleston)
1 ¼ cups pineapple infused Stranahan’s Whiskey
¾ cups Coriander Pineapple Syrup
¼ cups fresh lemon juice
¼ cups fresh cubed pineapple
4 cups fresh pineapple, pureed
caramelized lemon slices
Begin by infusing whiskey with ¼ cup fresh cubed pineapple for 24 hours. Then, puree 4 cups fresh pineapple in a blender and strain well through a fine strainer. Combine pineapple-infused whiskey, strained pineapple puree, pineapple syrup, and fresh lemon juice in a pitcher or punch bowl. Chill for at least one hour. When ready to serve add ice. Use large cubes of frozen pineapple for a fresh and long lasting fruit flavor. Garnish with caramelized lemon slices.
(Mixologist Sarah Boisjoli of The Stanton Social in New York)
Extra Fancy Toddy
peel of 2 meyer lemons
sprig of rosemary
juice of 6 meyer lemons
juice of 3 tangerines
½ cup Dorothy Parker Gin
2/3 cup honey
½ cup orange curacao or other orange liqueur
2 bottles white wine
Bring all to a simmer on the stove or in a slow cooker. Allow at least 20 minutes to steep and serve.
(Beverage director Robert Krueger of Extra Fancy in Brooklyn, New York)
20 oz. Tanqueray London Dry
6 oz. fresh lemon juice
10 oz. earl grey tea
7 oz. granulated sugar
0.5 oz. orange bitters
1 sprig of rosemary
In a jar or pitcher, combine 4 bags of earl grey tea with 10 oz. cold water. Put a lid on it and let it sit in the refrigerator for 10 hours. Strain into a large bowl or pitcher. Mix gin, lemon juice, sugar and bitters in a bowl. Add to tea. Pour over an ice block in a punch bowl. Garnish with anise-spiked lemons, a sprig of rosemary, and frozen cranberries.
(Mixologist Connor Mansager of Woodsman Tavern in Portland, Oregon)
Hot Wine Punch
1 ½ cups water
1 cup light brown sugar
2 bottles of cabernet sauvignon wine
1 apple, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 cup pineapple, diced
4 pieces star anise
½ cup orange curacao
Dissolve sugar in water over heat. Add wine, apple, orange, pineapple, and star anise. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir in curacao and cook for 5 more minutes. Throw away star anise and serve with additional fruits of choice.
(Chef Lauren Brown of Igby’s in Cincinnati)