6 big-batch cocktails for your next party
Large-format cocktail recipes for all your summer drinking needs
Words— Kate Dingwall
Though Victoria Day weekend is in our rearview mirror, long, languid summer weekends are just beginning. That means those short summer Fridays at work will soon lead to long nights outside with friends and family by your side.
Playing host with the most is tough for the cocktail lover. Making drinks for a crowd can end with you relegated to the kitchen all evening, shaking drinks and cutting garnishes while your friends soak in the merriment. The easy solution to this? Large-format cocktails.
A fruity sangria or a crowd-pleasing punch is the usual standard for large-format cocktails, but a good punch can go far beyond that. Think green tea punches, Champagne punches, spicy rum punches: the punch bowl is your oyster.
A few tips when concocting punches: keep the ice cubes big. Large ice cubes melt slower, which means the punch is less diluted. As well, garnish fervently. Add enough garnishes to whatever vessel you’re using to match as many glasses as you plan to serve.
Here, convivial recipes that you can make in your backyard. Break out your punch bowl, a large serving bowl, or a pitcher or two, call your friends, and turn the music up to eleven.
The Peach Palmer
Brandy isn’t where your mind usually drifts to for a punch - more common bases are vodka, gin, bourbon and the like. But trust us on this - the grape-based spirit is super smooth when blended with the fruity flavours of peach. This recipe, in particular, is basically an Arnold Palmer for the fun set, blending peach brandy, iced tea and lemonade. Pair it with barbecue and all you’re missing is a Southern accent.
- 1 part Peach Brandy
- 1 part Iced Tea
- 1 part Lemonade
Add all ingredients together and stir thoroughly. Add ice and garnish with lime wedges.
Jim Meehan’s Green Tea Punch
Though this punch is just five ingredients, you’d never guess it from the complex flavors. Lauded bartender Jim Meehan’s Green Tea punch plays nicely with a bottle of rum - the rich nature of the green tea perfectly complements the grassy, earthy notes of the rum. Plus, it doesn’t require any ingredients you probably don’t already have sitting in your pantry - it’s just tea, lime juice, sugar syrup, and rum (lots of rum).
- 1 bottle of Banks 5 Island Blend
- 375ml Sencha green tea
- 375ml mint tea
- 200ml lime Juice
- 200g demerara sugar (simple syrup made with brown sugar instead of white)
Brew the tea, then stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Add 4 cups of ice to chill and dilute the mixture, then add lime juice and rum. Chill before serving. Add all ingredients to a punch bowl filled with one large block of ice. Pour into punch cups filled with ice and garnish with grated nutmeg.
by David Wondrich
This recipe is a test of your bartending prowess, but oh is it worth it. This punch - it serves ten - brings in a base of rum with Madeira (a fortified wine), lime juice, orange curacao and oleo-saccharum, a citrus-y fruit reduction. It’s frothy, layered, and the addition of grated nutmeg makes it the perfect for those starting-to-get-chilly, fleeting end-of-summer nights.
- 1 liter Banks 7 Golden Age Rum
- 500ml rainwater madeira
- 500ml cold water
- 250ml lime juice
- 75ml Orange curacao
- Lemon Oleo-Saccharum
Combine and stir in the oleo-saccharum until the sugar dissolves. Grate nutmeg Chill before serving.
A Summer Shandy
Beer and liquor, never been sicker, but that’s certainly not the case with this refreshing summer shandy. A shandy has all everything you need from a summer drink: bright citrus from the lemonade, a flirty punch from the vodka, and a slight effervescent from the beer. Best of all, feel free to tweak as needed with whatever fruit juice or sliced fruit you have lying around - pomegranate is a personal favourite.
- 1 litre New Amsterdam Vodka 80
- 2 litre Lemonade
- 2 litre (approx. 6 pack bottles) Pilsner Beer
Add together in a punch bowl. Float thinly sliced lemon wedges in the punch and serve.
Dragon Pearl Punch
by Julie Reiner
This is not your grandmother’s punch. A generous pour of rum - Banks’ blends 23 different rums for a complex, affordable sipper - is blended with Jasmine tea, coconut water, lime juice and grapefruit. It drinks like a cheeky spa water - coconut and jasmine are utterly soothing, but the bright citrus and smooth Rum will get the party started. Make a batch sans rum for those non-drinkers.
- 1 liter Banks 7 Golden Age Rum
- 750ml chilled Jasmine tea
- 500ml coconut water
- 250ml lime juice
- Grapefruit Oleo-Saccharum
Combine all other punch ingredients and stir in the oleo-saccharum until it dissolves. Chill before service. When ready to serve, add to a punch bowl filled with one large block of ice, half grapefruit and lime wheels. When ready to serve, add to a punch bowl filled with one large block of ice, half grapefruit and lime wheels. Serve in punch cups filled with ice, and garnish with half grapefruit and lime wheels from the bowl.
To make the oleo saccharum, slice 4 peels of grapefruit into a 1-pint mason jar, add ¾ cup sugar. Seal, shake and leave overnight (or for 4-5 hours in the sun). This is your “oleo-saccharum.”
Rosemary Sour Punch Bowl
By Matt Sharp
This crowd-friendly punch will appease whoever is heading to your home, from your bourbon-loving uncle to your cocktail snob of a buddy. Basil Hayden’s acts as a smooth bourbon base (thanks to notes of caramel and apricot) but the addition of rosemary and aromatic bitters takes this recipe up a notch. All of this is tied together with a big kick of lemon juice. You’ll find yourself making a second batch in no time.
- 1 bottle of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
- 10 parts Simple Syrup
- 10 parts Lemon Juice
- 30 dashes Aromatic Bitters
- Sprig of Rosemary (for garnish)
Combine all ingredients into a large punch bowl with 4 cups of ice. Slice lemons into wheels and add to bowl. Stir to chill and ladle into Collins glass with a rosemary sprig.