Rather than sling drinks all night, entertain with one of these easy punches. Each one requires just a single bottle of booze. Add ice and a few easy-to-find ingredients, then sit back, relax, and enjoy the party.

By Dawn Perry
December 26, 2018
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Our one-bottle punches are just the thing I plan on serving over the holidays. They’re easy to make—each recipe requires just one whole bottle of booze, plus some easy-to-source extras—and are beautiful to boot. I linked up with Etsy trend expert Dana Isom Johnson to show her how to make these easy punches and learn how to dress them up for a party.

Don’t fret if you don’t have a punch bowl. In fact, I don’t have punch bowl, so I plan on serving these out of my biggest mixing bowl. Ladles are best and easiest for serving, but if you don’t have one or it’s packed away in a hard-to-reach box in the basement, you can use a one-cup measure or liquid measuring cup with a handle. But punch bowls or mixing bowls aren’t a must, either. Punch looks great displayed in pretty pitchers. Just place the garnishes alongside so guests know to add them.

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Garnishes are key when it comes to dressing up your drinks. I like to garnish cocktails and punches of all kinds with ingredients that are already in them so, pomegranate seeds and lime slices in the Pomegranate-Lime Tequila Punch; lemon zest or wheels for the Ginger-Lemon Vodka Punch. Our Spicy Bourbon Apple Punch looks great with sliced apples tucked in among the ice. For extra special slices, cut the apple straight through the core to reveal a tiny star where the seeds live. Pop out the seeds then slide the apple slice into your drink.

Punch is a fun and easy way to loosen a crowd, but there are likely some party-goers who won’t want to drink alcohol. To make everyone feel welcome, stock up on club soda, sparkling apple cider, or fill a pitcher with flat water and dress it up with sliced lemon or cucumber. Offer these alongside the punch and garnishes so everyone feels equally festive. 

A note on ice (er, about ice): Don’t forget it! Punch is made intentionally strong so, when served over ice, it won’t become watery and unappealing. A big bag of deli ice works fine, but for extra hostess credit, freeze water in a Bundt pan or a (clean) sandcastle mold. To unmold, dip the pan or mold in a big bowl of warm water to loosen ever so slightly. Invert into the punch, and you’ll be good to go. That said, be sure to chill your punch before adding the ice to slow the melt.

No matter which punch you choose to serve, Dana suggests using the colors of the punch to inspire your decorations: Our Apple Bourbon punch took on a cozy woodland vibe, while the bright yellow ginger-lemon punch got sparkly swizzles and repurposed ornaments. The main rule is to have fun with it—it’s the holidays after all, on ice.

Golden Ginger-Lemon Vodka Punch

A great punch accomplishes several things: it’s delicious, it finds the balance between strong and weak, and of course, it’s pretty. This gorgeously yellow number (on the left above) fits the bill, thanks to a clever ginger-turmeric syrup that lends its spicy and earthy flavors to vodka, and it looks festive enough to be the centerpiece of the bar. Another subtle win of this recipe is that it calls for the entire bottle of vodka. So often, punch recipes call for just a cup or two, leaving you with a bottle to sit and gather dust above the fridge. Cheers!

Get the recipe: Golden Ginger-Lemon Vodka Punch

Spicy Bourbon-Apple Punch

A punch that packs a punch? Now that’s a party. All jokes aside, this festive bourbon punch (middle up top) is a refreshing riff on the classic bourbon-apple pairing. Maple syrup adds autumnal undertones, apple cider vinegar tarts up the sparkling apple juice, and cayenne pepper meets the sweet with heat. If you like your drinks on the dryer side, look for an artisanal cider that has lower sugar than the standard supermarket variety. Or, to make an even boozier way to mix up this recipe, opt for an alcoholic cider instead.

Get the recipe: Spicy Bourbon-Apple Punch

Pomegranate-Lime Tequila Punch

This tart-sweet cocktail isn’t cloying, thanks to pomegranate juice and a generous serving of lime juice. The result is a pretty red and green punch, a refreshing companion to rich party food. It’s as simple as buying a couple bottles of ingredients (you’ll use them all up instead of adding clutter to your fridge), juicing limes, and making a simple syrup. Easy peasy! Allowing the punch to sit for at least two hours not only allows the flavors to meld, it also means you’re party-ready when guests start arriving.

Get the recipe: Pomegranate-Lime Tequila Punch