11 Seasonal Punches (and Recipes) From Top Mixologists

By Lisa Cericola & Mark Mavrigian November 30, 2009, 9:00 AM EST

Carriage House Punch by Damon Boelte

Photo: Miha Matei for BizBash

Old-fashioned punches have made a comeback on the bar scene, and rightfully so. The nostalgic concoctions satisfy the growing attention to high-quality, well-crafted cocktails, but are often more economical than their single-serving counterparts. And here’s why punch is ideal for entertaining this holiday season: Guests can help themselves, which gets them mingling while saving on staffing costs. And if this year’s party is in the conference room, it’s simple enough to make for a small crowd yourself. Here are 11 seasonal drink recipes from notable mixologists, and a sampling of appropriate serving ware.

Carriage House Punch
Damon Boelte, Prime Meats, New York
(Serves 20)

6 oz. Barbancourt 5 Star rum
6 oz. Hennessy VS cognac
4.5 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. pomegranate molasses
3 dashes Angostura bitters
12 dashes Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters
6 oz. simple syrup
3 oz. Earl Grey tea, chilled
12 oz. ginger ale

Combine all ingredients in a large punchbowl. Top with lemon slices.

Harvest Moon Punch
Damon Boelte, Prime Meats, New York
(Serves 20)

1.5 liters applejack
2 liters pear nectar
6 limes, juiced
2 oz. honey
2 liters champagne
5 dashes Angostura bitters
12 oz. ginger beer
20 sprigs rosemary
2 pears, sliced thinly

Combine all ingredients except for the pears and rosemary in a punchbowl. Serve each glass with a rosemary sprig and pear slices.

Toby Maloney, The Violet Hour, Chicago
(Serves 12 to 14)

2 bottles Cabernet wine
1 lb. white sugar
1 orange peel
3 cinnamon sticks
10 cardamom seeds
5 cloves
5 oz. Rebel Yell bourbon
3 oz. Sailor Jerry rum
3 oz. Gilka Kummel
Angostura bitters
8 oz. almonds
8 oz. raisins

Combine all ingredients except the bourbon, rum, and Gilka Kummel in a large stainless steel pot. Cover, and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the bourbon, rum, and Gilka Kummel. Add bitters to taste. Strain the liquid into a punchbowl. Garnish each drink with three almonds and raisins, if desired.

Imperial Brandy Punch

Sue Ketcheson and Christine Sismondo, Slake, Toronto
(Serves 20)

1 gallon water
3 40 oz. bottles of brandy
20 oz. amber rum
8 oz. Chambord
1 lb. fine sugar
Juice of 6 lemons
3 oranges, thinly sliced
1 pineapple, cut into small pieces

Mix all ingredients except the fruit in a large punchbowl. Add the orange and pineapple slices on top as a garnish. Serve each drink with ice.
Spirit of ’76 punch
Christy Pope & Chad Solomon, Cuff & Buttons, New York
(Serves 8)

24 oz. chai tea, chilled
8 oz. Laird’s applejack
8 oz. Jamaican rum
4 oz. lemon juice
4 oz. demerara syrup
1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced into 8 rounds
1 block of ice or ice ring
Nutmeg, for garnish

Combine the tea, applejack, rum, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a punchbowl, and add ice. Stir until chilled. Serve each glass with a nutmeg-dusted apple slice.

Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail
Freddy Diaz, Club 50 at the Viceroy, Miami
(Serves 8)

Hot buttered rum batter:
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg or mace
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl, stir all of the ingredients together to create a batter. Store in the refrigerator. (Batter can be stored for up to two months.)

Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail:
2 Tbsp. refrigerated hot buttered rum batter
6 oz. boiling water
1 1/2 oz. Myers dark rum or Goslings Black Seal rum
Whipped cream and nutmeg, for garnish

Combine the batter, hot water, and rum in a punchbowl. Stir until the butter mixture melts. Top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Spiced Blood Orange Punch
Patricia Richards, Wynn Hotels, Las Vegas
(Serves 8)

12 oz. Boiron blood orange puree
12 oz. Captain Morgan Private Stock rum
6 oz. Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
2 oz. Sonoma Co. cinnamon-infused simple syrup
4 oz. lime juice
8 oz. club soda
8 cinnamon sticks
1 blood orange, cut into 8 wedges

Combine the above ingredients into a punchbowl, except for the club soda. Top with club soda. Gently stir. Serve with ice in each glass and garnish with half a slice of blood orange and a small cinnamon stick if using.

Lust for Life Punch
Joaquin Simo, Death & Company, New York
(Serves 4 to 6)

9 demerara sugar cubes
3 orange peels
3 oz. club soda
3 oz. lemon juice
1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
3 oz. grapefruit peel-infused Punt e Mes vermouth
6 oz. Krogstad aqua vit
4 ½ oz. champagne
½ a lemon, thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients except the champagne in a large measuring cup. Muddle the mixture, then add crushed ice and stir. Strain the liquid into a punchbowl. Top the punch with champagne and garnish with lemon wheels.

Sons of Liberty Punch
John Gersten, Drink, Boston
(Serves 10)

3 tsp. black tea
8 oz. hot water
4 lemons, zested
1/2 cup demerara sugar
4 oz. Batavia arrack
8 oz. Matusalem Clasico
8 oz. cognac
6 oz. lemon juice
1 block of ice or ice ring
Nutmeg, for garnish
Steep the tea in the hot water. While the tea is steeping, muddle the lemon zest and sugar in a punchbowl. Add the Batavia arrack and carefully ignite the liquid with a long wooden match. Strain the tea into the punchbowl to extinguish the flame. Add the Matusalem Clasico, cognac, and lemon juice to bowl, along with the ice. Allow the punch to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish each serving with freshly grated nutmeg.

California Kumquat-Ginger Caipirinha
Nick Liberato, Eighteenth Amendment, Los Angeles
(Serves 8)

4 knobs of ginger, unpeeled
12 oz. simple syrup
 (Use 8 oz. for the ginger syrup, and reserve 4 oz.)
16 oz. cachaça 
8 oz. fresh lime juice
32 kumquats

Make ginger syrup by pureeing four knobs of ginger in a blender with eight ounces of simple syrup. Strain and reserve. In a large bowl, combine cachaça, lime juice, kumquats, eight ounces ginger syrup and four ounces simple syrup. Muddle the kumquats and add cachaça. Stir and serve with ice.

Tommy’s Punch
Todd Thrasher, PX and Restaurant Eve, Washington
(Serves 8)

8 oz. Jim Beam or Makers Mark
4 oz. Cointreau
8 oz. Southern Comfort
4 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pomegranate seeds

Combine all of the liquid ingredients in a punchbowl and float the pomegranate seeds on top.

All drinks were photographed at the stable at Frankies 457 Spuntino in Brooklyn.

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