Punch bowls. They’re everywhere these days, from rooftop bars to pool clubs to neighborhood dives. The best part about these colorful, shareable cocktails, though, is that they’re super easy to make (and customize) in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Beyond being delicious and photogenic, punch bowls make entertaining a breeze. Rather than making individual cocktails for all of your guests, whip up one giant, flavorful bowl at the beginning of your party, put a ladle in it, set out some cups, and let people serve themselves. Then, go enjoy your own glass (or three) in a lawn chair.
So, pick your poison, find a large bowl, bucket, or barrel, and pour.
Margarita Shandy (if you love tequila)
A margarita shandy has all the tropical flavors of a margarita, plus the refreshing taste of a summer shandy in one bowl. Make sure to add the beer just before you’re ready to serve, so that the punch stays bubbly and fresh for you and your guests. (Serves 6.)
1 (12 ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
8 ounces tequila
12 ounces water
1 lime, thinly sliced,
24 ounces lager or pilsner, chilled
In a large pitcher, combine limeade concentrate, tequila, and water. Stir until limeade is dissolved. Chill if desired, up to 6 hours, or proceed immediately to next step. Just prior to serving, fill the limeade pitcher with ice, lime slices, and beer. Serve in salt-rimmed glasses, if desired.
Scorpion Bowl (if you love all the rum)
Scorpion Bowls are popular staples at tiki bars and tropical locales alike, and they’re a breeze to make at home. This recipe highlights rum (both dark and light), and also includes vodka and gin. There’s a little something for everyone in here! Just…pace yourself. (Serves 4.)
3 cups crushed ice
2 ounces gin
3 ounce dark rum
2 ounces light rum
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces grenadine
8 ounces fresh orange juice
10 ounces pineapple juice
3 ounces lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
8 maraschino cherries
Place the crushed ice in a large pitcher and pour in the gin, dark rum, light rum, vodka, grenadine, orange juice, pineapple juice, and lemon juice. Stir well to mix, then garnish with the pineapple and cherries. Stir again before serving.
Gin Bucket (if you love…gin)
If you’re trying to serve a crowd, but aren’t too keen on a sugar rush, make the gin bucket your go-to—it’s a simple summer drink that really packs a punch (too easy). Thanks to the ample lemons and limes thrown into the mix, alongside some bubbly (who doesn’t love fizzy cocktails) this one will appeal to every palate. (Serves 4–6.)
12 ounces gin
20 ounces of your favorite lemon-lime soda (Fresca, Sprite, 7-Up, etc.)
1 can San Pellegrino Limonata or club soda
5 limes (2 to juice, 2 to cut into wheels, 1 for garnish)
2 lemons (1 to juice, 1 to cut into wheels)
2 tablespoons simple syrup (optional for a sweeter beverage)
Cut 1 lemon into wheels. Cut 2 limes into wheels. Set wheels aside. Juice two limes, and the remaining lemon.Fill your bucket with ice. Add the gin, lemon slices and lime wheels. Then, pour in lemon-lime soda, limonata or club soda, lemon juice, lime juice and simple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Cut up remaining lime into wheels or slices for garnish. Fill cups with ice, and distribute gin bucket into each cup.
Citrus Bourbon Punch (if you love whiskey)
Most people tend towards lighter liquors like rum, gin, and vodka when thinking about large format cocktails, but if you’re partial to whiskey, there’s nothing stopping you from using it for your next party punch. It’ll probably pack more punch than the rest, which isn’t really a bad thing. (Serves 6–8.)
1 cup water
2 tea bags (black or green)
1 cup bourbon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
6 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
5 cups of ice
Mint sprigs or lemon slices, for garnish
Boil 1 cup water for tea. Add the tea bags and let steep until cool. Discard the tea bags and set aside. Pour tea into a pitcher. Add bourbon, sugar, orange juice and lemon juice and refrigerate until needed. Don’t worry about stirring the sugar so that it dissolves; after 30 minutes in the fridge, it’ll be good.
To serve, shake or stir punch base to ensure ingredients are evenly distributed. To make two liters of punch, add base and full amount of ice cubes to your blender, blending until the ice is crushed and slushy. For each individual glass of punch, place 1/2 cup punch base and slightly heaped 1/2 cup small pieces of ice and blend. Garnish glass with a sprig of mint or slice of lemon.