When you’re hosting a party, you have plenty to consider, but playing bartender all night doesn’t have to be high on that list. Instead of doling out drinks to all your thirsty guests one at a time, make a punch before everyone arrives—this saves time, keeps glasses full and lets you mingle with your friends.
The Lights Out Punch is a great batched cocktail from bartending vet Joaquín Simó of Pouring Ribbons in New York. It features tea-infused vermouth, tequila, apple juice, citrus, bitters and sparkling water for a fizzy and refreshing concoction that tastes great during the holidays or whenever you need to serve a crowd.
The recipe includes a grocery list of ingredients, but it’s easy to make, with steps that can be accomplished hours before your party starts and instructions that don’t get more complicated than pouring liquids into containers. Once the door knocks begin, you’ll be ready to greet guests with a delicious drink, and from then on, they can serve themselves when their glasses run dry. No one waits and everybody wins.
- Apple slices (optional)
- Cinnamon sticks (optional)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons MarketSpice cinnamon-orange black tea (or other spiced black tea)
- 12 ounces sweet vermouth
- 1 750 mL bottle Centinela reposado tequila (or other reposado tequila), chilled
- 12 ounces apple juice or cider, chilled
- 8 ounces lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 4 ounces rich demerara syrup (2 parts demerara sugar, 1 part water), chilled
- 16 dashes Angostura bitters
- 16 dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashioned bitters or The Bitter Truth Old Time aromatic bitters
- 24 ounces club soda, chilled
- Garnish: apple slice
- Garnish: cinnamon, freshly grated
- Garnish: nutmeg, freshly grated
At least 24 hours prior to the desired consumption time, fill a plastic container (1-pint or 1-quart, depending on the size of your punch bowl) with water and add apple slices and cinnamon sticks if desired.
Freeze until solid.
Combine the tea and vermouth in a jar or other container and let stand for 90 minutes, then strain and refrigerate.
Combine the tea-infused vermouth with the tequila, apple juice, lemon juice, demerara syrup and both bitters in a punch bowl and stir to combine. Then add the club soda.
Carefully add the prepared ice block and garnish the punch bowl lavishly with apple slices and freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg.
Serve in punch cups or mugs, and garnish each glass with an apple slice and cinnamon stick, if desired.