When you’re hosting a party, the last thing you want to do is spend time making individual cocktails for your guests. The more practical move is to whip-up a large batch of a
boozy punch or sangria beforehand, so you can spend less time playing bartender and more time with your friends. In the chillier months, warm up around the fire with eggnog recipes fit to serve a group. Our best cocktails for a crowd have something for every season, whether it’s a summer favorite like a frozen margarita, or a fall classic like chilled cider punch. Next time you’re throwing a party, consult these recipes to be the ultimate host without having to stand behind the bar all night.
Large-Batch Negroni Sbagliato
New York City bar The Daily serves this lightly sweet, effervescent gin-based punch made with chamomile tea and sparkling wine. Created by mixologist Naren Young, it was inspired by classic holiday punches but is easily adapted to any season—try it in fall garnished with apples, pears, and cinnamon sticks; in winter with citrus slices and pomegranate; and in spring with edible flowers.
Sweet citrus, whiskey, and a pleasantly bitter gentian-flavored liqueur combine in an elegant punch concocted by New York City cocktail bar The Dead Rabbit.
For his riff on the classic Spanish wine-based drink, Jon Santer of Prizefighter in Emeryville, California, layers on more fruity flavors with French apéritif Lillet Rouge and the orange cognac-based liqueur Grand Marnier.
Get the recipe for Red Sangria »
Choose a high-acid, no-oak sauvignon blanc or similar white for this sophisticated version of the party wine drink from bartender Jon Santer of Prizefighter in Emeryville, California.
Get the recipe for White Sangria »
Sweet watermelon balances the heat of Scotch bonnet chiles in this summery tequila-based drink.
Get the recipe for Watermelon Cooler »
Contributor Marshall Bright’s father makes this boozy fruit punch for the family every year during their annual beach vacation in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. A sprinkle of fresh nutmeg on top compliments the molasses-like flavor of the rum. Use freshly squeezed orange juice—it adds a bright flavor the bottled stuff can’t match.
Get the recipe for Pawleys Rum Punch »
For a vibrant drink that’s excellent with spicy foods, try floral, tropical passion fruit juice paired with white rum and cool mint.
Get the recipe for Green Monster »
Canned frozen limeade intensifies the citrus flavor of this slushy Mexican-inspired libation.
See the recipe for Frozen Limeade Margarita »
Crisp and bittersweet, this Colombian lager-based cocktail is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon around the grill.
Get the recipe for Colombiana Pitcher Cocktail (Refajo) »
A twist on the British classic, this summer cooler takes on spicy, herbal notes from Kaffir lime leaves, while strawberries lend sweet balance to the pleasingly bitter liqueur.
Get the recipe for Strawberry Pimm’s Cup »
This lemonade gains herbaceous depth from lavender and thyme, while vodka delivers a good, clean punch.
Whether it’s juicing grilled limes into margaritas, charring tomatoes for bloody marys, or making this reimagined sangria with caramelized fruits, grilling your drinks will add smoky depth to every sip.
Get the recipe for Grilled Sangria »
This festive, fuss-free punch recipe can be made year-round using seasonal fruit.
See the recipe for White Wine Punch »
This brightly spiced punch recipe includes gin, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, and allspice dram.
In this Southern spin on the boozy Yuletide favorite, a mix of bourbon and rum takes the place of brandy. It can be made up to 4 hours before serving.
Experiencing the Tom and Jerry is like sipping a hot toddy through a brandy-laced, nutmeg-dusted froth. Serve this thick, batter-like concoction at your next holiday gathering.
This tea-infused champagne punch makes an elegant centerpiece for any festive occasion.
Get the recipe for Regent’s Punch »
Chef Rick Bayless suggested this recipe for a bloody mary made with beer, citrus, and tequila.
A combination of vodka, tomato juice, fresh lemon juice, Worcestershire, and fresh ground spices is simple, classic, and always delicious.
Get the recipe for Original Bloody Mary »
Throughout the Caribbean, rum punches flecked with nutmeg have been served steadily since the colonial era.
In this easy-drinking beer cocktail, the concentrated raisin flavor of the sherry, the honeyed quality of the Benedictine liqueur, and the oatmeal stout add up to something like “breakfast in a glass.” A sprinkling of sweet, spicy nutmeg seems completely appropriate in this context.
Made with mezcal, grilled pineapple, jalapeño, and lime, this festive take on the classic margarita is smoky, sweet, and spicy, with an herbaceous kick from cilantro.
Get the recipe for Mezcalita de Piña »
A bright mix of watermelon, gin, Aperol, lemon juice, and a splash of club soda, this drink from Stella Rosa Pizza Bar in Santa Monica is well-balanced, effervescent, and not too sweet.
Get the recipe for The Merchant’s Wife »
Dark rum and cognac warm up this peach punch created in the 18th century.
Red Nose Punch
This sweet-tart wine punch was invented by members of the Junior League of Houston book club in the 1970s.
This version of a Spanish sangria is ripe with summer fruit; its light, crisp flavors complement seafood and poultry.
This chilled cider punch combines the fall flavors of a mulled cider with the celebratory feel of a sparkling punch.
Get the recipe for Chilled Cider Punch »
“Always be prepared.” It’s not only the motto of the Boy Scouts of America, it’s also the mantra of any great host. Eric Castro of San Diego’s Polite Provisions suggests to achieve that goal via pre-made libations. His riff on the classic New Orleans cocktail, the
Vieux Carré, can be kept chilled, stored in cleaned 750-ml. liquor bottles, and on hand for all impromptu soirées. Get the recipe for Full Windsor
Lemons and raspberries add tartness and a beautiful pink hue to this punch, slightly smoky thanks to the addition of mezcal.
Infusing the rum with nutmeg adds nice warm undertones to the drink. You need to start the recipe the day before you plan on serving it, and you can make it with either heavy cream or half and half, depending on how decadent you’re feeling.
Get the recipe for Nutmeg-Infused Eggnog »
If a coffeemaker upgrade relegated your old percolator to the attic years ago, here’s another use for it: cocktail hour. Thrifty housewives have long repurposed the pot to make aromatic punches. The percolator continuously cycles hot liquids, which infuses spices and concentrates juices, making for a fragrant winter drink.
Get the recipe for Spiced Percolator Punch »
Crab apple liqueur with cinnamon
Imparting a festive green glow to the de rigueur citrus and Champagne brunch cocktail, absinthe lends a noticeably herbal bite and serves as a natural aperitif.