Big Batch Cocktails for the Holiday Season

by | Nov 2020

Non-alcoholic punch

Photos: Tate Carlson

Big batch cocktails are the season’s best guests.

The countdown starts now—three months of eat, drink and be merry—with Thanksgiving, December holidays and New Year’s all in the mix. Speaking of mix, how about hosts gift themselves with big batch beverage recipes, which add extra cheer to any gathering?

Signature cocktails have become de rigueur at home events, and we’re not complaining. But standing post at the beverage cart or bar area can take the fun out of any party for the host. By offering big batch beverages, hosts can mix and mingle, rather than mix, serve and repeat.

John Farrell, Haskell’s Wine and Spirits, and Bill Princeton, Princeton’s Liquors, offer beverage recipe recommendations to not only spice up the holiday season, but also save time and money.

Non-Alcoholic Punch


Cheers to a fruity drink for the tots, teens and teetotalers.

A day before: Using a Bundt cake pan, add a variety of fruits (berries and orange and apple slices)—the more the merrier. Fill the pan with water to cover the fruit; put in the freezer.

The day of serving: In a punch bowl, add 2 liters of Sprite and 2-3 oz. of grenadine syrup; stir together. Take the Bundt pan out of the freezer, remove the ice mold from the pan, and place it in the punch bowl. The ice mold will not only serve as a beautiful centerpiece to your liquified work of art, but it will also keep the drink cold.

The Libertine


“Rosemary, bourbon and maple syrup—how can you go wrong?” Farrell says.

  • 2 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 oz. bourbon
  • 2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. orange marmalade
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 egg white

Boil simple syrup and one sprig of rosemary in a small saucepan; cool. Discard rosemary, and transfer syrup to a cocktail shaker with bourbon, lemon juice and marmalade. Add ice, shake until chilled, and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Add maple syrup, orange juice and egg white to the shaker; shake until frothy. Spoon the froth over the top of the cocktail; garnish with remaining rosemary sprig.

Mulled Wine


Here’s a perfect excuse get the slow cooker away from the entrée and into the beverage mix.

Mulling spices are available at most wine stores during the holiday season, but if you can’t find them, put star anise, cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a tied cheese cloth. Add a bottle or two of red wine to your crockpot or slow cooker of choice. Add the mulling spices. Use the lowest setting, and warm the wine, making sure to not boil or cook the beverage. Serve in your favorite mugs.

Mulled Wine

Grapefruit Beer Punch


Invite a tart and tangy change to your holiday beverage pace.

  • 4 c. Cantilever gin
  • 2 c. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 5 c. Dreamyard India pale ale, chilled

Combine the Cantilever gin and grapefruit juice in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Cover and chill for at least two hours or overnight. Add Dreamyard IPA just before serving, and ladle into ice-filled punch or lowball glasses.

Ginger Lemon Hot Toddies


Offer this soothing, classic beverage with an alcoholic kick.

  • 8 c. water
  • 2 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 c. honey
  • 5 Tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 (3-inch) piece of peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 3/4 c. Norseman dark rum
  • 3/4 c. Copper and Kings
  • American brandy

Place water, lemon juice, honey, crystallized ginger and fresh ginger in a 4 1/2-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for four hours. Remove and discard ginger slices. Stir in rum and brandy. Ladle the mixture into mugs, and garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired.

Smaller-Serving Sips

This trio of recipes mix well with holiday entertaining.

Apple Cider Old Fashioned

  • 1/2 c. ice
  • 2/3 c. apple cider
  • 2 oz. Lost Superior (Minnesota-made whiskey)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Apple slices, for garnish
  • Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a glass; stir to combine. Garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick.

White Christmas Margarita

  • 14 oz. unsweetened coconut milk
  • 12 oz. Libelula silver tequila
  • 8 oz. triple sec
  • 1/4 c. lime juice
  • 4 c. ice
  • Lime wedge, for rimming glass
  • Sanding sugar, for rimming glass
  • Lime slices, for garnish
  • Cranberries, for garnish

Combine coconut milk, tequila, triple sec, lime juice and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Rim glasses with lime wedge, and dip in sanding sugar. Pour into glass, and garnish with lime and cranberries.

Death in the Afternoon

  • 1/4 to 1/2 oz. absinthe
  • 4 oz. Champagne or other sparkling wine, chilled

Pour absinthe into a Champagne flute, and top with Champagne.

—Contributed by Bill Princeton, Princeton’s Liquors

15304 Grove Circle N.
Facebook: Haskell’s Wine & Spirits
Twitter: @thewinepeople

Princeton’s Liquors
12790 Bass Lake Road
Facebook: Princeton’s Liquors
Twitter: @Princetons


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