Large format libations with seasonal ingredients keep guests refreshed and let hosts enjoy the fun.
It’s the best season at the farmer’s market, as stalls are overflowing with watermelon, blackberries, peaches and mint. And the best place for them to shine might just be in a punch bowl. Kick off the unofficial start of summer with one of these batched beverages.
Watermelon Polo Bowl
Recipe courtesy of Punch Bowl Social, multiple locations
The fun chain – with locations that boast bowling, shuffleboard, karaoke and craft cocktails – just released a new warm-weather punch that’s complex, tangy and thirst-quenching. Serve it in a punch bowl...or in a hollowed out watermelon. Teakoe’s Wayward Watermelon Tea is available on their website, but you can feel free to substitute another brand, like Republic of Tea’s Hibiscus Watermelon Tea.
- 5 oz. Reposado tequila
- 4 oz. Teakoe’s Wayward Watermelon Tea
- 3 oz. Watermelon shrub (see Note)
- 3 oz. Strawberry syrup (see Note)
- 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
- Mint sprigs, for garnish
Pour all ingredients except garnish over ice in a large punch bowl, and garnish with the mint sprigs.
For the watermelon shrub:
Puree 4 cups peeled and chopped seedless watermelon in a blender, and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add ⅓ cup superfine sugar and ½ cup apple cider vinegar, stir to combine, and store in the refrigerator for a day before using it. The shrub will keep for up to one month.
For the watermelon syrup:
Combine 2 cups pureed seedless watermelon and ½ cup granulated sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer until sugar dissolves (do not boil). Simmer until the mixture reduces by half, and then remove from heat. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Tiki Cacti Necktie
Recipe courtesy of Punch Bowl Social, multiple locations
This delicious warm weather punch pulls its inspiration from classic tiki flavors like grapefruit, bitters and nutmeg.
- 2 oz. Grapefruit syrup (see Note)
- 1 oz. Blood orange juice
- 1 oz. Lemon juice
- 2 oz. Clément Créole Shrub
- 6 oz. Don Q Rum
- Dash Angostura Bitters
- 12 oz. San Pellegrino Prickly Pear (chilled)
- Dash nutmeg
- Lime wheels, for garnish
Shake the first 6 ingredients with ice, then strain into a punch bowl. Add ice, top with the San Pellegrino, and stir lightly. Garnish with the lime wheels and the nutmeg.
For the grapefruit syrup:
Combine the peels of 2 ruby red grapefruit with 1 cup sugar. Cover and let set overnight. Bring 1 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan, then add citrus sugar mixture. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and let cool. Strain out solids, and store the mixture in the refrigerator.
Recipe courtesy of Ferdinand’s
This punch uses a quince liqueur from Germany’s Mosel region that starts with the producer’s dry gin, macerated with aromatic quince from trees behind the distillery. If you can’t find it, feel free to substitute another brand, or an apple or pear brandy, which will make for a slightly different flavor profile, but a delicious punch nonetheless.
- 12 oz. Ferdinand’s Saar Quince
- 24 oz. Peach iced tea
- 5 oz. Fresh lemon juice
- 3 ⅓ oz. Falernum
- 2 bar spoons Peychaud’s Bitters
- 1 750ml bottle Chilled premium cider (alcoholic)
- 6 sprigs Citrus thyme
- 1 handful Chamomile blossoms
- 1 Blood orange
Place the citrus thyme and chamomile blossoms in a cheesecloth, tie tightly, and put into a punch bowl. Pour all other ingredients except the cider on top and let set for 45 minutes. Add the cider and slices of blood orange, and add an ice block to keep it cold.
Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade
Recipe adapted from Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Miami, FL & Las Vegas, NV
“At Yardbird we strive to create cocktails that are culinary driven while maintaining approachability,” explains Josh Holliday, beverage director of 50 Eggs, Inc. “A lot of our drinks are bourbon based and for some people that may be daunting, so we've tried to create drinks...that are approachable but where the bourbon still shines through.” Yardbird makes this drink à la minute, but it can be batched. Use a large ice block and let it melt for at least a half-hour or so to account for the dilution in a shaking drink, or add some water to achieve the desired strength.
- 1 750ml bottle Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon
- 8 oz. Lemon juice
- 8 oz. Organic blackberry puree
- 8 oz. Simple syrup
- ⅓ oz. Aromatic bitters
- 16 Cardamom pods
- Chilled sparkling wine
Mix all ingredients except the sparkling wine in a punch bowl and add an ice block. To serve, pour into a glass or mason jar over ice, and top with sparkling wine.
Recipe courtesy of Erin Goodman, head bartender, Roofers Union, Washington, D.C.
General manager and beverage director Dave Delaplaine's trip to Martinique last year stirred his interest in the funky, vegetal notes found in rhum agricole. He asked Goodman to create a punch that captures the flavors and island vibe of his trip, and the result is this fragrant sip, which gets a touch of depth from chocolate bitters.
- 15 oz. Clément Blanc Rhum Agricole
- 2.5 oz. Maraschino liqueur
- 2.5 oz. Velvet falernum
- 6.5 oz. Lime juice
- 7 oz. Passion fruit juice
- 1 quart Chamomile tea
- 10 dashes Chocolate bitters
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl over ice.
Pink Grapefruit Punch
Recipe courtesy of Andrea Correale, founder and CEO, Elegant Affairs
Batched cocktails are great for entertaining, Correale points out. “Set up a drink station with beautifully garnished cocktail glasses and your guests can serve themselves.” She loves this refreshing grapefruit punch for summer parties, which looks attractive in either a punch bowl or a glass beverage dispenser.
- 2.5 cups Bourbon
- 12 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 4 cups Strained fresh pink grapefruit juice
- ⅔ cup Mint syrup (see Note)
- 1 cup Club soda
- 10 Mint sprigs
- Fresh fruit, for garnish
Add bourbon, bitters, grapefruit juice and mint syrup to a punch bowl. Add ice and mint sprigs, and garnish with fresh fruit.
For the mint syrup:
Combine ⅓ cup water and ⅓ cup sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat, bring to a boil and add 5 mint sprigs. Remove from heat, cool syrup and strain out solids.
Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.