The Best Batch Cocktails To Make For Your Next Holiday Party, According To An Expert

When it comes time for a holiday celebration, don't forget to plan some tasty drinks alongside your holiday menu. But, be sure to plan a batch cocktail so that you're not stuck playing bartender the entire night. Mixing even simple drinks one at a time can quickly turn into a mess — and will take you away from time with family and friends. Food Republic spoke to Nik Sparks, Head Bartender & Beverage Director at The Wooly in New York City to get his advice on what large batch drinks are best to mix up for your holiday bash.

Sparks shared that a big punch bowl is a great way to go (classics are classic for a reason, after all). He especially likes something simple, sweet, and tart. "The combination of spirit, citrus, sugar, and water has stood the test of time," he explains. For example, you can try combining orange juice and vodka or lime juice and white rum with simple syrup to taste. If you want to take it up a notch, dress up the oj and vodka mix with some Aperol or Campari and the lime juice and white rum combo with cranberry juice. 

And don't forget the garnishes. Even a simple mix can look like something special when decorated with slices of fresh fruit, cinnamon sticks, sprigs of rosemary, or pretty ice cubes. After ladling the punch into glasses, you can also top the drink with a splash of fizzy water, sparkling wine, or ginger ale to turn it into something festive and bubbly.

Creamy batch cocktails to consider for the holidays

But, you don't have to stay in the fresh and fruity realm for your holiday punch bowl. You can make a creamy cocktail instead, if that's more to your liking. Bartending guru Nik Sparks says that "coquito is an amazing and under-appreciated drink here in the States outside of Puerto Rico." It can be a fun stand-in for eggnog because it typically does not include eggs, so you don't have to worry about food safety or any food preferences in that regard at your holiday party.

A traditional base of coquito combines rum, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk, plus coconut milk, coconut cream, or both. It's then flavored with warm spices like vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and served chilled. Use light rum, dark rum, or a combination of the two. You can even riff on a classic coquito recipe, and use brandy, bourbon, or whiskey instead.

If coconut isn't your vibe, opt for a white Russian. It's creamy and easy to put together in a large batch. Simply combine equal parts vodka, coffee liqueur, and heavy cream, and serve over ice. You can even substitute part of all of the coffee element for an even more festive liqueur flavored with white chocolate, gingerbread, almond, or peppermint.