Food & Drink

18 Cocktails Perfect for Your Next Party

The best part? You can make them ahead of time.
IMAGE Pixabay

Nothing says "I have my hosting game on lock" quite like welcoming people to your home with a fresh boulevardier, Pimm's Cup, or caipirinha, minus the stress of spending the whole night behind the bar juicing limes. Here are 18 perfect make-ahead cocktail recipes that will have all your friends asking "how do they do it?"

1. Apples and Honey

10 parts Drambuie
16 parts pressed apple cider
6 parts lime juice
.5 tbsp kosher salt
8 dashes Angostura Bitters
8 parts sparkling white wine (For a dryer cocktail, use 16 parts sparkling wine)
Thinly sliced apples and mint for garnish

Combine ingredients except sparkling wine in a punch bowl. Stir until salt is dissolved. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. To serve, add a large ice block or large ice cubes and sparkling wine. Garnish with thin apple slices and mint.

2. Batched Boulevardier

1.25 cups rye whiskey
1 cup Campari
1 cup sweet vermouth
Orange twist, for garnish

In a quart-size mason jar, stir together the whiskey, Campari, and vermouth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. To serve, pour 3 ounces into an ice-filled shaker or mixing glass and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

From Home Cooked by Anya Fernald

3. Winter Hill Punch

8 parts toasted hazelnut-infused Drambuie*
4 parts Glenfiddich 12-year-old Scotch
1.5 parts Cardamaro
4 parts pomegranate syrup
4 parts fresh lemon juice
8 Dashes Angostura Bitters
16 parts club soda
20 parts brut (dry) sparkling wine
Lemons wheels and 1 inch rosemary sprigs for garnish

*Toasted Hazelnut-Infused Drambuie: Toast nuts over medium heat until browned and you can easily smell toasted aroma. For every 1 part of Drambuie add .5 part of toasted nuts. Let infuse in airtight container for 24 hours. Strain and reserve for use. In a punch bowl add all ingredients and slowly stir with large ice block. Add garnishes and serve well chilled.


4. Negronis for a crowd

This large-format version of the classic Italian aperitivo comes together in just a few minutes and will save you tons of time when your guests start pouring in.

Recipe: Serious Eats

5. Let's Pumpkin

9 oz Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
4 oz Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur
3 tbs Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin Puree
2 oz fall spice syrup
6 oz apple juice
6 oz pineapple juice
6 oz lemon juice
5 thin sliced lemon wheel
3 thin sliced pineapple wheel

*Fall Spice Syrup
5 pieces star anise
2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
5 chopped diced ginger
1 whole orange twist
3 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
2 cups of water
2 cups of fine sugar

Use a small saucepan over medium heat and lightly toast cardamom seeds. Combine with star anise, nutmeg, diced ginger, cinnamon stick, cloves, orange, water and sugar. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved. Let it cool for 30 minutes, and use fine mesh sieve to strain. Keep refrigerated. Syrup can be stored for up to 4 weeks. Mix all cocktail ingredients together and add ice. Serve in mini harvest pumpkins or glass mugs and top with toasted meringue.

From Shawn Chen and Michael Hurson of Decoy in New York.

6. Apple of My Eye

12 oz Black Bottle Scotch
6 oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
6 oz Lemongrass Sweetener 
6 oz Apple Cider (something well made)
8 oz Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice 
Thinly sliced green apple for garnish

Put all ingredients into a punch bowl, add ice 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Stir occasionally to increase coldness and incorporate water for balance. 

Lemongrass Sweetener: Take three pieces of lemongrass and slap them against a counter to open up the aroma. Cut into one inch pieces and throw into a pot with one quart of water and sugar. Bring to a low boil and let cool. Strain off the lemongrass and store in fridge (Glass container with lid works best. Properly stored it will can be stored for up to 4 weeks).


From Moses Laboy of Bottle & Bine in New York.

7. Crave Caipirinha/Caipiroska

20 oz Cachaca or vodka
10 oz lime juice
10 oz simple syrup
4-5 sliced lime wheels
2 persimmons, chopped and muddled (or other seasonal fruit)

Muddle seasonal fruits and lime wheels. Mix one part lime juice, one part simple syrup, 2 parts Cachaça (or vodka for a Caipiroska)

From Kat Gordon at Crave Fishbar in New York

8. Ti Shrub

3 cups agricole rum
.5 cup simple syrup
.5 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
Ice cubes
Lime wedges, for garnish

In a quart-size mason jar, stir together the rum, simple syrup, and lime juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve (the mixture will keep for 1 day in the refrigerator). Pour .5 cup of the mixture into a rock glass with one large cube of ice. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

From Home Cooked by Anya Fernald

9. Champagne Punch at the Rose Club at The Plaza

32 oz fresh lemon juice
16 oz iced tea
32 oz simple syrup
2 bottles Moet NV champagne

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl. Garnish with fresh cut lemon rings and strawberries and place ice ring mold on top of mixture and serve.

From Laura Royer at the Rose Club at the Plaza in New York.

10. Pimm's Fruit Cup

35 fresh mint leaves
2 cups Pimm's No. 1 Cup
.75 cup Cointreau
.75 cup fresh lime juice
20 thin cucumber leaves
10 strawberries cut into quarters
.5 apple cut into thin slices (optional)
.5 Bartlett pear cut into thin slices (optional)
2 cups ginger ale

Place the mint leaves into a large pitcher or smaller bowl and gently tap with a muddler or small ladle to extract the essence. Add the Pimm's, cucumber, apple, strawberries, pear, Cointreau, juice, and stir to combine. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, add large cubes and ginger ale. Gently stir and serve. 


From Employees Only in New York.

11. Sazerac Pitchers

There's an old-school elegance to pouring up one of these New Orleans favorites from a crystal pitcher, or go deep south and serve it in grandma's lemonade jug. 

Recipe: Real Simple

12. Sucker Punch

15 oz Don Q Anejo rum
5 oz Don Q Limon rum
5 oz lime juice
20 oz apple cider
10 oz hibiscus tea and ginger syrup
10 oz distilled water
Thin slices of fuji apple for garnish

Pour all of the ingredients into a large punch bowl over ice and whisk together. 

13. Tommy's Margarita

20 oz blanco tequila
15 oz lime juice
15 oz agave nectar
12.5 oz water

To batch in advance, combine all ingredients, mix together and store in refrigerator to keep cold. When ready to drink, pour over fresh ice with garnish and lime.

From Diplomat Prime in Hollywood, Florida

14. White Brady Punch

19 oz Pisco brandy (or any other white brandy)
25 oz Smirnoff cherry vodka
8 oz grenadine
57 oz pineapple juice

Combine all ingredients over ice.

From Bar Toma in Chicago

15. Manhattans for a crowd

Bottle up a batch of this rye-and-vermouth based classic to get everyone into a sophisticated '60s vibe. the best part? There's just four ingredients so whipping up another round is (almost) as easy as drinking them. Recipe: Serious Eats

16. October Punch

32 oz  apple cider
12 oz spiced rum
4 oz Cream Capataz Andres Lustau Sherry
7 oz blood orange juice
4 oz lemon juice
1.5 oz Allspice Dram liqueur
4 cinnamon sticks
2 lemons cut into wheels
2 blood oranges cut into wheels
2 apples cut into small squares

Throw all ingredients into a punch bowl,and stir with a ladle. Add ice to the top of the punch bowl, and serve.

From The Third Man in New York. 

17. G.M. Burton's Punch

8 limes
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 oz ginger extract
10 oz fresh lime juice
10 oz Remy Martin 1738 Cognac
6.5 oz oloroso sherry
3.75 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum
3.75 oz Banks 7 Rum
2.75 Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
25 oz green tea, cold
Fresh grated nutmeg for garnish


Zest the limes, combining zest with granulated sugar. Allow mixture to sit for 30 minutes to allow sugar to absorb the lime oils, creating an oleo-saccharum. Combine oleo-saccharum with all other ingredients, except for garnish, in a large mixing bowl and stir until sugar has dissolved.  Strain into punch bowl over ice. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

From The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog Drinks Manual

18. Crave Cooler

20 oz vodka
18 oz strawberry Giffard
12 oz lemon juice
6 oz simple syrup
3-4 lemon wheels
10 strawberries
basil for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher with fruit as garnish. Serve over ice.

From Mazin Ahwal at Crave Fishbar in Boston.

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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