When it comes to holiday entertaining, especially for larger groups, it’s hard to beat punch. Rather than getting stuck in the kitchen or behind the bar all night making drinks, you can make a large bowl ahead of time and leave yourself free to socialize. And if you’re looking for a holiday recipe that’s light on its toes but still has depth, Erick Castro’s punch checks all the boxes. The co-founder of San Diego’s Polite Provisions and Raised by Wolves, Castro describes the Champagne Holiday Punch as “a blend of holiday flavors in a convivial and bubbly format.” It’s a drink that will take your holiday toast up a notch.
Genever, the historic ancestor to modern-day gin, is known for its nutty and earthy flavor. Also called Dutch or Holland gin, it’s a distilled malt spirit flavored with juniper and other botanicals. Full-bodied and malty, if you like scotch or mezcal, then you’ll most likely enjoy genever. However, Castro says that’s not the only appeal of this festive holiday punch. “While the recipe calls for genever, which results in a malt-accented beverage rich with baking spice, the beauty of the drink is that it works with virtually any spirit imaginable,” he says. “This comes in handy around the holidays, because after you make two or three of these with the family, the recipe still works even once you run out of genever.”
Similarly, while the recipe calls for Champagne, any kind of high quality bubbles will do. Just be sure to use something on the drier side; if not, you’ll want to cut back on the simple syrup or risk an overly sweet drink. Cointreau, too, can be substituted for another orange liqueur such as a dry curaçao or a good triple sec. However you make the Champagne Holiday Punch it will surely be a hit at your next get-together.
- 1 1/2 cups genever
- 1 cup Champagne
- 1/2 cup Cointreau
- 1 cup club soda
- 3/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 cup simple syrup
- 8 dashes Old Fashioned bitters
- Garnish: pineapple slice
- Garnish: star anise pods
- Garnish: grated nutmeg
Serves at least 8.
Add a large block of ice into a punch bowl, or 2 cups of ice cubes.
Add the genever, Champagne, Cointreau, club soda, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters into the bowl and stir gently to combine.
Garnish with pineapple slices, whole star anise pods and grated nutmeg.