For us, this time of year usually involves having a drink in hand – from brash office parties to warm, relaxed nights at-home. And while we like the year-round, go-to classics as much as the next guys, we wanted something different for this year's holiday season. So we called up our friend Sam Johnson, one of Brooklyn's best bartenders.
One is a from-scratch version of eggnog that's easy to make, is dangerously easy to drink, and tastes incredible with layers of sweet, smooth, spiced flavor. Try it, and you'll never go back to the pre-mixed stuff. The other is an adaptation of one of the cocktail world's most classic punches, the Philadelphia Fish House Punch, which has a history that stretches back to the early 1700s. You can scale it down if you just want a glass or two, but it's best as an easy-to-make, crowd-pleasing, large-format offering for that holiday party you're throwing.
Eggnog is kind of an oddity in the cocktail world: its most common form is a pre-mixed carton (sans booze) you buy at the grocery store, it's only really seasonally appropriate for a few weeks in December, and a striking amount of people claim to not care for the stuff at all. They haven't tried this version.
It's softly sweet, lightly spiced, and way too easy to drink – you could knock back a few of them and be well on your way to a boozy evening before you know it. It's about a hundred times better than the pre-made stuff, and is guaranteed to impress any guests you have over during the holiday season.
We've broken down the finer points of big-batch cocktails before, so we're not going to dive too deeply into it here, but suffice it to say that a good punch is easy, delicious, and perfect for serving a big group.
And there's no big-batch cocktail recipe more legendary than the Fish House punch, a relic of colonial America's fledgling cocktail culture that's survived clear through to the modern day thanks its sweet, tart, juicy, and altogether delicious flavor profile.