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  • The Chopping Blog

Festive Holiday Parties with a Punch

Posted by Shelley on Dec 7, 2022


Like so many people, I have family, friends and colleagues spread all around the country. During the holidays, I make it my personal mission to connect in some way with as many of them as I can. Whether that be a simple but handwritten holiday card, a catch-up phone call, a quick lunch, a special dinner or even better, a gathering of many, I love to create occasions to connect my closest friends and family.

Bill Drinking Cranberry Fizz PunchI think when people are connected, especially through a party atmosphere, it builds community. When people have the opportunity to connect face to face, they tend to have more empathy and connection with that person. I have a pretty large family and it takes some effort to keep our family connected. This holiday season, I booked a party room so all my family could fit in one room and be together for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

I want the community I live in to be connected so I am hosting big and small dinners all throughout the holidays to do just that. At The Chopping Block, we are hosting parties all throughout the holiday season and into January for both corporations, friends and families.


You might think, Shelley you are crazy, how the heck do you host all these parties and keep your sanity? It’s true, I might be a little crazy, but I love to create memories. I also do this professionally so I know how to do things efficiently and with the least amount of effort. Dinners and parties do not have to be a huge amount of effort.

For example; we are going to do a family potluck in the event room I booked, the space is already decorated and they will do the cleanup. Many of the parties I am hosting will overlap with what I do professionally. For example, I am teaching a virtual Coq au Vin class on Sunday, December 11 at 4pm CST and will have friends over to enjoy the food after the class. I have many meetings throughout the holidays, and I will turn them into holiday luncheons and dinners. To host a party at The Chopping Block all you really need to do is fill out our online form, and we will do the rest.

holiday cocktails

The one thing that is common through every occasion I create is some kind of beverage service. You can spend a ton of time and money trying satisfy every guest’s specific tastes. Maybe Maggie loves scotch, Ninel drinks vodka soda, Uncle Virgil drinks Diet Coke, Dara loves tequila, Cristina drinks white wine, Bob likes rum, Sandy drinks Brandy with maraschino cherries and Leland drinks Busch Light. How on earth can you possibly stock a bar and please everyone attending? Ask your guests to bring what they like to drink. When you make this simple request, you can be sure to satisfy everyone’s taste at your party. As a host, you should still have something to offer your crowd and the easiest and tastiest thing to serve is punch.

Cooking CheersI loved punch when I was kid, but of course, I only drank the non-alcoholic variety back then. Punch at special get togethers was basically liquid candy, and it was delicious. As adults, we generally can’t afford to be drinking liquid candy because really sweet drinks lead to really bad next days. As adults, we can’t afford really bad next days so we tend to avoid really sweet drinks. I think this is why people stopped serving punches, not because orange sherbet in your cocktail isn’t delicious, but because we think it is too sweet. But punch does not need to contain sherbet, and it doesn’t need to be overly sweet.

Punch should be and really is a giant cocktail… just slightly diluted. Batch cocktails and barrel-aged cocktails are all the rage, but I think of punches in the same way as a batch cocktail, just one big giant cocktail only slightly diluted. Instead of making individual drinks at your next party, consider the benefits of punch: you are providing a high-quality drink consistently to everyone, doing it with ease and for a lot less money. You have encouraged your guests who have specific tastes to bring what they like but just like the food you are serving, you have determined what people will be drinking when you make a punch.

holiday cocktails 2I wanted to share a few punch recipes with you - many of these we serve at The Chopping Block for our private events - so we know from experience they are a hit. You can also simply make batch-cocktails and either serve them in a punch bowl or in pitchers. Margaritas, Lemon Drops, Daiquiris, Old Fashioneds and Manhattans are all great cocktails to make in large quantity. If you think a traditional punch won't appeal to your crowd, pick a cocktail that will, then make a big batch of it. I like to create a punch or cocktail station with ice, glassware and whatever your guests need to serve themselves. You can also create a non-alcoholic punch and put a bottle of your favorite spirit on the side and let your guests add it if they desire.

punch station

Cranberry Fizz

cranberry fizz 1This is an incredibly easy punch to make, festive to look at and absolutely refreshing.

Yield: 15, 5-ounce portions

Prep Time: 10 minutes


1 bottle Moscato

1 bottle Prosecco, Cava or other sparkling wine

12 ounces of cranberry juice

8 ounces of brandy

4 ounces of simple syrup



Slices of tangerine or orange

Fresh or candied cranberries (link to Karen’s blog on sugared cranberries)


  • Pour all ingredients into a punch bowl or pitcher and stir.

Glass: Champagne or Punch glass

Garnish: Serve some fruit in each glass

Ice: Some Ice

Cocktail Napkin: Always

Pro tip: Put this recipe together right before serving so you don’t lose the bubbles in the punch.

 cranberry fizz 2


White Wine Punch

White Wine Punch in a CupThis recipe is easy to turn into a red wine punch. For the Christmas holidays a Pinot Noir, Rioja or Sangiovese wine work well. Try adding some dried cranberries, orange slices, with apples and pears.

Yield: 20, 5-ounce portions

Prep time: 20 minutes

Maceration time: 2 to 4 hours


1/2 pound white grapes, sliced in half

1 1/2 pound seasonal white and light-colored fruits: honey dew, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, white cherries, plums

1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc

1 bottle Moscato

6 ounces brandy

6 ounces simple syrup

1 bottle Prosecco

  • Put fruit into a large stainless or glass container and add Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, brandy and simple syrup. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Right before serving, place in punch bowl and add Prosecco.
  • To serve, fill champagne or punch glass with 5 ounces of punch, including some fruit and fill with ice.

Glass: Champagne or punch glass

Garnish: Serve some fruit in each glass

Ice: Some Ice

Cocktail Napkin: Always


Metropolitan Punch

Metropolitan Punch in a CupYield: 20, 5-ounce portions

Prep time: 45 minutes


64 ounces cranberry juice

8 ounces lemon juice, fresh squeezed (approximately 8 to 10 lemons)

8 ounces lime juice, fresh squeezed (approximateely 8 to 12 limes)

8 ounces simple syrup

16 ounces orange Juice, fresh squeezed (approximately 8 oranges)

16 ounces vodka

8 ounces bourbon

1 cup triple sec

Orange wedges and slices

  • Measure all juices, simple syrup and alcohol into a punch bowl.
  • Garnish the bowl with a few orange slices.
  • To serve, pour 5 ounces punch into champagne glass or punch glass and fill with ice.
  • Garnish bowl with a few orange slices.
  • Garnish glass or cup with orange peel.

Glass: Champagne or Punch glass

Garnish: Orange Slices and Peels

Ice: Some Ice

Cocktail Napkin: Always


I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and have an opportunity to spend time celebrating and relaxing with the special people in your life. If you haven’t had a chance to create that special occasion to gather with colleagues, friends and family, it is not too late to book your private event with us. We still have a few open spots in December, but I personally love throwing our holiday employee party in January. In January, things calm down, and I know my team appreciates that since we are all so busy in December. If you have people all over the country and even world, we are still offering virtual private events to connect people wherever they are.

If you need more ideas for special holiday cocktails, don't miss our virtual Epic Holiday Cocktails with Spirits Expert Christophe Bakunas on Friday, December 23 at 4:45pm CST. You'll learn how to make three festive libations:

  • Cardamom Gin Fizz (Gin, Sparkling Wine, Cranberry and Rosemary) 
  • The Alexander #2 (Cognac, Crème de Cacao and Cream)
  • The New West 75th (Bourbon, Apple Cider, Lemon and Raspberry)

Register now


Topics: cocktails, cocktail, entertaining, Recipes, holiday entertaining, punch

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