Brandy Rand

Thirsty Writer, Libations Marketer

Punches & Pitchers: Better Batch Cocktails

Despite their popularity in bars and restaurants, people still seem to be intimidated by mixing up batch drinks at home. Unless of course you’re the kind of person who happily dumps whatever liquor you have on hand in a bowl with cartons of juice and a bottle of ginger ale and calls it a day. Though this method of “punch” has its purpose (frat parties and frazzled hostesses – we’ve all been there!), there’s a much easier way serve cocktails for a crowd: follow a recipe. (Check out Kara Newman’s new book Cocktails for a Crowd for inspiration.)

Proportions and ice are the two most neglected rules and colossal punch and pitcher failures. The goal is to have a balanced drink for all your guest simultaneously so you don’t have to spend the party cultivating shaker elbow. I recently interviewed Stephanie Jamison from Ipswich’s Salt Kitchen and Rum Bar for Northshore magazine on this very topic. Below are her expert tips and a rum punch recipe to try as excerpted from the full article:

 • Don’t be daunted by drinks for a dozen. Jamison’s tip is to make just one tasty cocktail and then multiply the measurements (resist the urge to dump a bunch of bottles together!).

• The biggest batch drink blunder is watering it down with too much ice. “The trick [to] keeping it cold without diluting it is to use some variation of ice to chill the drink instead of straight water—you retain better flavor,” she says. For example, if your recipe calls for pineapple juice, freeze it into cubes to chill the punch, or even better, use frozen grapes or other fruit. A large block of ice melts slower than small cubes, so repurpose that brownie pan as an ice tray.

•  Lastly, Jamison likes to have soda (typically used to top punch) and any garnishes available on the side to be added to each serving.

Photograph by Anthony TieuliVerano (From Salt Kitchen & Rum Bar)

Muddle together:

  • 1    large bunch of mint (40-50 leaves)
  • 8     orange slices
  • 4     oz. cherry juice
  • 8     fresh cherries


  • 2     oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2     oz. blood orange purée
  • 8     oz. Old Ipswich White Cap Rum

Stir all ingredients together in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Add ice cubes made from blood orange juice (to avoid watering it down). Serve over ice and top with ginger ale.

Here are a few more recipes  previously published in my N Magazine article called Pitcher Perfect as well as some great Sangria recipes and more tips from an old Boston Common Magazine post. And the folks over at Brugal rum sent me over easy batch recipes, come created by renowned mixologists :

Patriot’s Punch

24 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum (approx. one 750 mL bottle)
9 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
9 oz. Honey Syrup
36 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Mix all ingredients together, shake each serving with ice and pour into glasses. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The Mary Isa-Basil Created by Justin August Fairweather, Evelyn Drinkery NYC

24 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum (approx. one 750 mL bottle)
9 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
9 oz. Simple Syrup
36 torn Basil Leaves
24 Kiwi Slices
Cracked fresh pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher and stir vigorously with ice. Strain into glasses. Garnish with freshly cracked pepper and a basil leaf. 

Dry Rum Cooler Created by Pete Gugni, Scofflaw Chicago
1.5 cup Brugal Extra Dry Rum
.5 cup Aperol
1 cup Fresh Lime Juice
.75 cup Cane Syrup
Tonic Water
Muddle cucumber and add Brugal Extra Dry Rum, Aperol, Fresh Lime Juice and Cane Syrup to mixing glass. Shake and strain into a Collins glass with ice. Top with tonic water, garnish with fresh cucumber.  (Inspired by a Rum Cooler)

Dry Sharona Created by Kenneth McCoy, Rum House/Ward III NYC
24 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum (approx. one 750 mL bottle)

6 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
6 oz. Agave Syrup
48 Muddled Raspberries
Ginger Beer
Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher. Stir vigorously. Pour over fresh ice in Collins glasses. Top with ginger beer, garnish with fresh raspberries. 


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This entry was posted on July 3, 2013 by in Northshore Magazine, recipes, rum and tagged , , , .
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