The Gin Punch Your Holidays Need

December 12, 2014

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Today: The punch that will cure your holiday cocktail party fatigue -- and why you should make it for the rest of the year and beyond.

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December leans hard on punch like prom leans on Top 40 hits, and if this holiday season is progressing on its rightful course, you’ve had no shortage of booze ladled from large, trough-sized bowls. Punch fatigue is setting in. Just like tracks 1, 2, 9, 11, and 12 on Taylor Swift’s new album, it’s starting to feel played out.

But here’s one that will keep you interested. 

Anyone who’s ever thrown a holiday party can attest that it creates a very delicate ecosystem of drinkers. Guests inevitably divide into two very distinct cocktail camps. The first is the group who wants to drink something lighter, something that smacks pleasantly with citrus and doesn’t show off any difficult flavors or bull-headed brashness. Maybe it has bubbles. The second? They want strong, dark, brown, stirred. They want a pit bull in a rocks glass. Like some paragon game of red rover, those in camp 1 hardly ever succeed at passing through the linked arms of those in camp 2. And unless you want to risk having a lame party, you must please them both. 

The Bowery Punch in action at our Holiday Market cocktail class.

More: Want to go off-script a little more? Here's how to make any punch, without a recipe.

Since standing behind a bar all night mixing boulevardiers for camp 2 and French 75s for camp 1 is clearly not an option -- as host, it is your Martha Stewart-given right to have just as much fun as your guests -- you should serve them Bowery Punch. 

The gin -- think of it as vodka with character -- is where camp 1 and camp 2 will first meet in the middle. The Cappelletti and grapefruit are just bitter enough to head off complaints from camp 2 at the pass. The bitters zip the whole thing up, and keep it from skewing into sugary sweet pop song territory. It’s interesting enough for those who care, and submissive enough for those who just want to get in the holiday spirit. It’s refreshing for everyone involved. 

Now shake it off -- it’s the holidays. You have more punch to drink yet. 

Bowery Punch

Serves 6

12 white sugar cubes
8 ounces club soda
6 ounces Tanqueray gin
2 ounces Cappelletti, or other similar bitter apertif
2 ounces grapefruit juice
2 ounces lemon juice
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Grapefruit slices for garnish

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Dale Gibb
    Dale Gibb
  • cam2201
  • Darcie Sosa
    Darcie Sosa
  • Oui, c'est bon
    Oui, c'est bon
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Dale G. November 3, 2018
Many people cannot have grapefruit but juice or grapefruit these days because of intersections with meds. This sounds delicious. Please suggest a substitute! Thanks.
cam2201 December 28, 2014
Why tanqueray gin? Does it pair well with grapefruit?
Darcie S. December 18, 2014
What's your bitter apertif alternative suggestion for Cappelletti?
Author Comment
Kenzi W. December 18, 2014
Aperol and Campari would both work well here!
Darcie S. December 18, 2014
That's what I thought. Thank you!
Oui, C. December 16, 2014
Your beautiful 5 cocktails photograph , where can I find the one in the middle, the footed glass. Cappelletti is so fine.
Alexandra S. December 14, 2014
Ha! So true. I am camp 1. Husband is camp 2. I think it's time to unite. All of these flavors sound so good. Would Campari or Aperol work in place of Cappelletti? I have both on hand though I wouldn't mind having an excuse to expand my liqueur cabinet.
Author Comment
Kenzi W. December 14, 2014
Yes!! Aperol might work a bit better (a little less intense/slightly sweeter), but both would be great. Let me know if you try it!
Alexandra S. December 14, 2014
Awesome! I am totally trying this. Having a small gathering this weekend. Gin Punch is the only certainty!
mrslarkin December 12, 2014
Yessssssssss! Is this similar to the lovely cocktail I had at Marta?
Author Comment
Kenzi W. December 13, 2014
It is!! Just a little punchier. If you like that, you'll like this.
Catherine L. December 12, 2014
Thanks for getting that song stuck in my head, Kenzi.