If you want to get everyone congregating around the punch bowl instead of the water cooler, try this convivial sip from Jonathan Webb, the bar manager at Fine & Dandy in Jackson, Mississippi. His Pear & Pub Ale Party Punch calls on two spirits, two juices, a homemade syrup and some beer, so there’s a lot going on within.
The punch begins with rye whiskey and dark rum. It’s a potent combo to be sure, but one with complementary flavors that work well together—rye’s natural spiciness merges with the rich dark rum to produce a boozy synergy. Orange and lemon juices provide a welcome vein of fresh citrus that runs through the cocktail, while cinnamon-pear syrup adds sweetness, complexity and spice. For the beer, Webb recommends a good English ale, like Lucky Town Pub Ale, which is brewed right in Jackson. Avoid anything too hoppy or too stout.
While Webb’s recipe hits all the right notes, you can temper the ratios if the punch is too strong for your crowd. You can easily accomplish that by decreasing the spirits or increasing the amount of juice or beer, per your preference.
Remember to prep the syrup in advance, so all you have to do is mix everything together right before the party begins. With a large batch of this delicious beverage ready to go, you’ll be free to mingle with your guests rather than spend all night playing bartender.
- 8 ounces rye whiskey
- 6 ounces dark rum
- 8 ounces cinnamon-pear syrup*
- 3 ounces orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 ounces lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 12-ounce cans of ale
- Garnish: orange wheels
- Garnish: lemon wheels
- Garnish: ice block**
Combine all the ingredients except the beer in a large punch bowl and stir to combine.
Top with the beer, and add a large ice block or several large ice cubes to keep the punch cold.
Garnish with orange and lemon wheels.
*Cinnamon-pear syrup: Combine 1 cup demerara sugar and 1 1/2 cups water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce it to a simmer, add 1 pear (thinly sliced), and let it simmer for 45 minutes. Remove it from the heat, add 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 cloves and 2 pieces of star anise, and let steep for 1 hour. Strain out solids, allow it to cool, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
**Ice block: Create a large, slow-melting ice block by adding water to a bowl or mold and placing it in the freezer for several hours. Remove from the mold just before use.
Make your ice block more festive by adding sliced fruit to the water before freezing.