A party is a great opportunity to show off your bartending skills, right? But nothing puts a damper on a home-thrown shindig more than having to make each guest their own drink. One by one. All night long. The solution to this common party problem is simple: Make punch.
Punch began its serious comeback when folks realized these large-format cocktails have a long history––one that has nothing to do with the spiked party bowls of high school days past. A punch allows guests to serve themselves easily so the host can get in on the party instead of spending the entire time working it. The greatest punches are refreshing, delicious and beautiful, decorated with edible garnishes and served in an attractive bowl.
For your next gathering, make the cocktail menu a one-and-done affair. Need punch recipes? You're set.
Aptly named the “incorrect Negroni,” the Negroni Sbagliato is the way to go when trying to please a crowd. Swapping the usual gin in a classic Negroni for sparkling wine, this punch is ideal for keeping the mood light and celebratory. It’s also a great kick-start to a dinner party––a drink that's fruity, bitter and fizzy to nibble with finger foods.
When thinking of a fruit for punch, figs aren’t the first that come to mind. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try this figgy punch at your next jamboree. It combines bourbon and spiced rum with citrus and muddled figs for a pretty, purply bowl full of kicky fruit flavor.
Dark rum, light rum, pineapple juice, orange curaçao, grenadine and allspice dram: It sounds like a Tiki drink-lover’s dream come true, doesn't it? Make this summer-appropriate punch while on the beach or by the pool. Created by cocktail legend Dale DeGroff, it comes together easily in the bowl and is chilled in the glass for maximum freshness.
Cocktail historian David Wondrich adapted this punch from an antique recipe. It fuses cognac, rum, port and Grand Marnier with strong-brewed black tea and oleo saccharum (the sweetened oils of lemon peels). In short, it's not for the faint of heart. Assemble this lightly caffeinated bowl, and let your guests top each serving with soda or Champagne.
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Have an extra cup of bubbly laying around? Then you're good to go for this festive party bowl. Genever, Cointreau and citrus come together with Champagne and club soda for a sophisticated, effervescent treat that hits both savory and sweet notes. Garnish with star anise, sliced pineapple and fresh-grated nutmeg for a fragrant finish.
This large-format cocktail can be served in a pitcher, but the approach is the same as punch: Do all the work upfront, then you're free to play. Building on the original Screwdriver, it throws in muddled orange and Aperol. The result is a refreshing sipper topped with soda and garnished with thyme sprigs, in a sunset-blush hue.
This ruby-red beauty starts with a medley of muddled citrus and is then hit with blanco tequila. A dose of grenadine makes this punch pop, and a 7UP top asks it to sing. Sweet-tart with a gentle prickle, this is one to serve at your next backyard potluck. Your biggest problem will be getting your neighbors to go home.
It's no coincidence Aperol shows up twice on this list. A low ABV and bright bittersweet flavor makes it ideal for the sort of lazy, sessionable sipping that punch tends to involve. The Aperol gets infused with rosemary here, a savory way to temper the bourbon-heat in the punch. Honey sweetness and grapefruit tang add roundness, with a bubbly and soda-water finish.
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Absinthe isn’t the most obvious choice for a punch—at least not as the base ingredient. This simple mixture of absinthe, water, citrus and sugar is sure to create some converts. A garnish of sliced cucumber is so approachable, your guests will wonder why they haven’t been sipping this floral elixir their whole lives.