Punch Recipes for Your Holiday Party

La Patria Punch from Serious Eats

Holiday entertaining means getting out the old punch bowl and filling it up with some cheer! While I still stand by last year’s holiday punch picks, there are so many more delicious and creative ways to get your drink on during the holiday season that I rounded up a few more holiday punches this year, too. Enjoy!

Spiced Persimmon Punch ~ If you’re looking to do something unexpected yet totally appropriate for your holiday punch, this is it. Pear and cranberry usually grab all the fruity attention around the holidays, but persimmons pair just as well with spices … and some brandy and wine. Bonus: Persimmons are pretty!

Sparkling Rum and Pomegranate Punch ~ Tart pomegranate and lime juice balances well with aged Jamaican rum and a splash of orange bitters for a pleasing punch. Keep it cold with a gorgeous pomegranate-and-lime ice block. Festive!

La Patria Punch ~ Cognac, fruit, and sparkling wine. There is no way you can go wrong with that combination. This simple recipe dates back to 1862, so you can feel like you’re a part of history as you dip into the punch bowl one more time.

Hot Gingerbread Punch~ Dark beer + dark rum + lots of spices give = gingerbread flavor. Add a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon to turn this hot punch into a drinkable Christmas gift.

Italian Sparkling Citrus Punch ~ With all the holiday buffets and Christmas cookies, this light and refreshing lemon and prosecco punch could be just the thing. Top it off with a few lemon twists as a garnish and it’s time to party.

Planter’s Punch

Every May we seem to have a heat wave here in Sonoma County. And while it seems to be good for my vegetable garden, I’m wilting like a delicate flower over here. Time for some punch!

Planter’s Punch is one of those fabulous tiki drinks where no two recipes are the same. Some have a bunch of fruit juice and syrups; others are more focused on rum, lime, and sugar. I like it in the middle, with a little bit of sweetness but not an avalanche of fruit flavors.

My version uses homemade grenadine (which is very easy to make and has a more complex sweet and tart flavor … but if you don’t want to make it yourself, be sure to buy real pomegranate grenadine and not neon red corn syrup mistakenly called grenadine). Feel free to add orange or pineapple juice if you want something a little lighter and more fruity.

Planter’s Punch

3 ounces dark rum (Jamaican rum will do the trick!)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce DIY grenadine
3/4 ounce lime juice
3 dashes Angostura bitters

Pour all ingredients into a Collins or tall glass. Add crushed ice and stir, then top off with a little more crushed ice. Garnish creatively! It’s a tiki drink, after all.

Photo by Jackson Stakeman

Tequila Fresa Punch

Even though Spring has sprung, it will still be a while before a lot of fruit is in season. So let’s enjoy one delicious fruit that’s ready now: strawberries!

This berry is a great companion for many spirits, but I particularly like the way its sweetness accents the lightly smoky notes in a tequila reposado. Reposado is aged, so it is the lighter amber-colored tequila. Be sure to use 100% agave tequila and not a “mixto,” which may be the same color but isn’t the same thing.

Here’s a recipe for the infused tequila and the punch. (You can scale up the punch recipe to serve more and make the tequila infusion with equal parts tequila and strawberries in whatever quantity you’ll need.)

Strawberry-Infused Tequila Reposado
1 part tequila reposado
1 part chopped strawberries

Steep for about five days.

Tequila Fresa Punch
(1 serving)

1 1/2 ounces parts strawberry-infused tequila reposado
1/2 ounce triple sec
3/4 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
2 ounces grapefruit soda
1 dash orange bitters
Sliced strawberries for garnish

Shake all ingredients except the soda and strawberries in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into chilled old fashioned glass with several ice cubes. Add the soda on top of the strained liquid. Garnish with strawberries.

Photo by Jackson Stakeman

Holiday Party Punches

Long Hello punch from Bon Appetit

Make one of these holiday punches, so you can sit down and enjoy the party instead of being stuck behind the bar. These punches are all so different, yet each of them is Christmas-y. Happy Holidays!

Wassail Punch ~ Get in the Christmas spirit with a traditional warm spiced punch made with apples, spices and sherry or Madeira.

Bolliwood Punch ~ An exotic twist on a sweet and citrusy punch, made with rum, brandy, freshly squeezed orange juice, and cardamom.

The Long Hello ~ Simple. Elegant. Festive. All you need is Calvados (or applejack/apple brandy), champagne, bitters, and a little nutmeg.

Desert Snow Tequila Punch ~ If eggnog isn’t your thing, start a new holiday tradition by trying this punch made with horchata, tequila, and falernum.

Brandy Milk Punch ~ This is a 19th century holiday classic made with milk, vanilla, and brandy. It’s a great after-dinner cozy drink.

Pisco Punch

Pisco, a clear grape-based brandy, was a popular ingredient in many San Francisco cocktails during the late 19th century, most famously Pisco Punch—created by the Bank Exchange Saloon.

Since the owner of the saloon took the recipe with him to his grave, there are many variations on this cocktail floating around out there. If you want to be authentic, you should use gomme syrup—a rich simple syrup made with gum arabic that adds a silky texture and prevents sugars from crystalizing. Most people just aren’t going to bother to hunt for gum arabic or commercial gomme syrup, so I skip it in my recipe.

With or without the gomme syrup, this cocktail is a winner! It’s bright and festive but also has depth and just the right balance between sweet and dry. Try it for party time … or any time.

Pisco Punch

(This recipe is for 1 serving. Scale up to make more.)

2 ounces pisco
3/4 ounce pineapple-infused rich syrup*
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

Place a chilled pineapple chunk you saved from the syrup at the bottom of a coupe, punch cup or rocks glass. Shake the pisco, syrup and lemon with ice in a cocktail shaker, then strain into the glass that has the pineapple chunk in it.

*Pineapple-Infused Rich Syrup

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 pineapple, cored and sliced into chunks

Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Let simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Place the pineapple chunks in a large bowl and pour the cooled syrup over them. Cover and let it steep and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the pineapple chunks and save them to serve with the punch. (This recipe makes 2 cups, so you’ll use a quarter of a pineapple per cup of syrup.)

Photo by Jackson Stakeman

Italian Sparkling Citrus Punch

This punch is like a giant champagne cocktail for you and all your friends. You can never go wrong with sparkling wine!

I like to use Meyer lemons, which are a little sweeter than your typical lemon. You can reduce the amount of vodka or skip it altogether if you don’t like a strong punch.

Italian Sparkling Citrus Punch

1 cup vodka
1 1/2 cups simple syrup
1 1/2 cups limoncello
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 750 ml bottle of Prosecco

Stir all ingredients, save the Prosecco, in a punch bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Add the Prosecco and an ice block just before serving.

This recipe is included in the book … head over to Amazon and order yourself a copy!

Photo by Jackson Stakeman