Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Cognac & Other Brandy Cocktails

Naughty or Nice

Two rocks glasses on a gray marble surface hold dark red drinks over ice, garnished with blood orange slices. / Tim Nusog

One of the oldest forms of mixed drink, punch spent a number of decades relegated to cloying concoctions overly sweetened with fruit juices and syrups. But thanks to the work of bartenders like famed cocktail historian David Wondrich—who wrote an extensive text on the history and concept of large scale, shared drinks—punch these days can be a righteous affair, as good as any single serving cocktail.

One such influential bartender is Jamie Boudreau. The Seattle bartender is the owner and founder of Canon, one of the country’s most celebrated whiskey bars. However in this boozy punch Boudreau skips the whiskey in exchange for another brown spirit: cognac. To that he adds an unusual combination in a punch: two wines of different colors, equal parts chardonnay and pinot noir. Since they’re being mixed with spirits and ginger ale, there’s no requirement to go super high-end here. Instead, leave the cru Burgundies for drinking on their own. It’s still important, though, to make it with some decent wines that you’d actually want to drink, with or without the addition of cognac, cherry liqueur, and ginger ale. Boudreau uses Fat Bastard wines.

Similarly, the cognac should be of good quality, though that’s easy enough to do as the famous brandy region doesn’t produce much in the way of bottom-shelf spirits. Same for the maraschino liqueur. While the most obvious label to reach for is the wicker-wrapped bottles from Luxardo, there are alternatives. And while the recipe calls for ginger ale, feel free to substitute in ginger beer, which will cut down on the sweetness a bit and add extra gingery spice from the naturally fermented soda. Either way, be sure to go for a product of higher quality, without any artificial flavorings or corn syrup, as those can spoil an otherwise good punch.

This recipe makes enough to share between two. If you’re serving a larger group, as punch is normally made for, adjust the recipe accordingly: one bottle each of pinot noir and chardonnay, 18 ounces each of cognac and maraschino liqueur, and around 36 ounces of ginger ale, which is easy enough as that’s three ordinary 12-ounce bottles. Alternatively, mix everything but the ginger ale in a punch bowl with a large block of ice and top each individual glass with ginger ale.


  • 3 ounces Fat Bastard chardonnay wine
  • 3 ounces Fat Bastard pinot noir wine
  • 2 ounces cognac
  • 2 ounces maraschino liqueur
  • 4 ounces ginger ale
  • Garnish: blood orange slices


These quantities serve 2, but can be multiplied to fill a punch bowl.

  1. Add the chardonnay, pinot noir, cognac, maraschino liqueur and ginger ale, along with a large block of ice, to a punch bowl.

  2. Divide between punch cups or rocks glasses with fresh ice, and garnish each with a blood orange slice.