Party-style punches are a great way to batch festive holiday cocktails. Mat Snapp, director of beverage for Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts, has a go-to that he calls Mistletoe Punch, made with fresh lemon, organic cranberry juice, heavy-brewed chai tea, aged rum and sparkling wine.
There are a few subtle keys to making this punch work, Snapp says. “One is having simple syrup (1:1) already prepared to round out the woodsy edges of the chai and to calm down any out of balance citrus.” Flavors depend on tea selection, so you’ll have to use your palate as a gauge, he notes.
A mix of rums is also a fun way to deplete a few bottles in your collection, Snapp adds. “We used scraps of six bottles for our punch—all similar in style—and freed up some much-needed room for new fun spirits!”
You’ll want to make the base of the punch the night before you plan to serve it so that all the flavors can get acquainted. Here are the proportions:
1 part Fresh lemon juice
1 part Simple syrup
2 parts Organic cranberry juice
2 parts Chai tea
3 parts Aged rum
Make sure that the base is sweet enough to carry the tartness of your sparkling wine when you add it, Snapp says. Freeze sliced lemon wheels into a block of ice a few days before; make sure the ice block and your punch will fit together in your punch bowl. Just before you’re ready to serve, bake a cookie sheet of fresh cranberries just long enough for them to start breaking open, he says.
Add the cranberries to your punch the same time you add your ice block, he continues. And when the first guest asks for punch, loudly pop the cork to the sparkling wine and pour the whole bottle in, saying “Punch is served…” as you do. Why?
“For some reason, a collected group of holiday people go positively ga-ga for emptying a whole bottle of something,” Snapp says. “It’s the perfect way to kick off the evening.”