Alise Moffatt is a master of batch cocktail algebra. Since 2015, she’s efficiently sauced up crowds at Shift Drinks, the downtown Portland service industry bar she co-owns. She’s also a hot commodity at parties, where her punches, essentially just lower-proof batch (premixed) cocktails, are legendary. And, sometimes, infamous.
“Years and years ago,” she says, “I made a [1990s-era] Jasmine cocktail punch: gin, Campari, Cointreau. And a whole bottle of Cava. People were dipping red Solo cups and drinking it like juice.”
What became known as “Alise’s knockout punch” was a teachable moment: use small cups!
Moffatt calibrated these three festive punches to cover a range of tipplers: a cozy take on a classic Stone Fence, with baking-spice-redolent allspice dram; a smoky mezcal-and-amaro sucker-punch; and a pink sipper that tastes like grapefruit macerated with pine—elegant enough for New Year’s. No-stress, high-caliber holiday drinking? We’ll raise a (small) glass to that.
Alise’s Holiday Punches
Recipes make approximately 25 cocktails. For each, combine all ingredients, stir, and serve straight, or over ice. If preparing well in advance, combine all ingredients except soda water and Cava, and add bubbles just before serving.
Gin, pine, fizz
Best for summer radler drinkers kicking up the booze quotient for winter
- 1 bottle (750 mL) London dry gin, like Beefeater
- ½ bottle (375 mL) Zirbenz stone pine liqueur
- ½ bottle (375 mL) Bärenjäger
- Juice of 10 lemons
- 1½ bottles (1,125 mL) Cava, like Dibon
Bourbon, rum, cider
Best for parties calling for apple pie comfort—on the rocks, or hot from the Crock-Pot
- 1½ bottles (1,125 mL) bourbon, like Elijah Craig
- ¾ bottle (563 mL) aged rum, like Bacardi 8
- ¼ bottle (188 mL) St. Elizabeth allspice dram
- 1½ bottles (48 oz) fresh apple cider
Mezcal, amaro, pomegranate
Best for velvet-clad celebrants looking to commune with smoke, fire, and earth
- 1½ bottles (1,125 mL) mezcal, like Banhez or Sombra
- ½ bottle (375 mL) Ramazzotti amaro
- ½ cup honey syrup (1:1 ratio of honey and hot water, mixed prior to adding)
- 1 bottle (32 oz) pomegranate juice
- 1 bottle (750 mL) soda water
Punch Party Best Practices
Choose big garnishes for the punch bowl. Sure, loose star anise and cloves might look great floating in a punch bowl. But a large lemon wheel or cinnamon stick is less likely to sneak into your cup and choke you.
Remember: your punch decorations are steeping. Spices, herbs, and fruit add flavors that get stronger with time, and especially with heat. “Basically, you’re making booze stock,” Moffatt says.
Set out napkins and a dump bucket. “Drunk people do weird stuff,” says Moffatt—like tuck ice under sofa cushions or flush fruit wedges down the toilet. Make garnish disposal a no-brainer.
Keep sparkling punch fizzier by serving in batches. Or, set out bottles of bubbles for topping off.
Buy block ice or bag it up. A block of ice has less surface area than a raft of cubes or chips—meaning it’s slower to dilute punch as it melts. Better yet, zip ice into watertight baggies. Oh, and no dry ice: “Someone always burns themselves.”