Whip up one of these large batch cocktails or punch recipes pre-festivities, and you’ll be free to join the celebration. (Because nothing dulls a party faster than getting stuck behind the bar.)

By Real Simple Editors
Updated November 01, 2019

Repeat after us: You are the host, not the bartender. But the best way to make sure you don’t get trapped mixing drinks all night is to plan ahead, and the best way to plan ahead where bartending is concerned is to turn to big batch drinks and punch recipes. To get you out from behind the bar—with a drink in hand, of course—we’ve devised a roster of supersized, festive cocktails ranging from a refreshing Minty Moscow Mule to an icy Hard Cider Slush designed to fuel your holiday revelry (or any sort of festivities) without ever requiring a cocktail shaker, a bar spoon, or a muddler.

These batch cocktails range from the sweet to the complex, so there’s sure to be a drink to suit your taste—and the vibe of the party. The cocktail mixer options range, too, so your favorite is sure to be included somewhere. And because big batch recipes are so generously proportioned, if you want to make yours a little stronger or a little weaker, you’re free to do so. Now go forth and mix.

Credit: Stephen DeVries

Pomegranate and pineapple juice together give this punch a sweet-tart flavor blend that’s sure to appeal to any and all taste buds. White rum is recommended, but gin or tequila also work, so you can tailor your batch beverage for your audience.

Get the recipe: Pomegranate Kombucha Punch

Credit: Greg DuPree

This fall-inspired sangria is super refreshing and primed to accompany your Friendsgiving feast or post-apple-picking expedition hang-out. Whip up a batch in about twenty minutes, garnish with pear and orange slices, and prepare to enjoy fall in a glass. To make prep even quicker, you can make the simple syrup ahead of time.

Get the recipe: Pear and Rosemary Sangria

Credit: Greg DuPree

Citrus and mint may seem more appropriate for a tropical drink, but with a splash of sophisticated champagne, this light punch goes from warm-weather-ready to perfect for any occasion. If you’re bartending on a budget, swap out the champagne for prosecco or another sparkling wine.

Get the recipe: Citrus and Mint Champagne Punch

Credit: J Muckle; Styling: Rebekah Peppler

The “Sbagliato” cocktail, whose name means “messed up” in Italian, was supposedly invented when a distracted bartender accidentally added bubbly to a Negroni in place of the usual gin. The drink might have been a mistake, but it’s one we’re all too happy to make—over and over again.

Get the recipe: Extra-Large Rosé Sbagliato

Credit: Victor Protasio

Talk about a big batch drink: This pretty yellow punch recipe yields 16 cups, so you can hydrate (sort of) a crowd with just twenty minutes of work. The drink does need to chill for at least two hours, so plan ahead with your prep before you start sampling.

Get the recipe: Golden Ginger-Lemon Vodka Punch

Credit: J Muckle; Styling: Rebekah Peppler

The Sazerac, the official tipple of New Orleans, is a historic rye and absinthe-kissed cocktail usually made in single servings. But happily for hosts, it scales up beautifully, too. Serve this potent version at your next bash and let le bon temps roule.

Get the recipe: Sazerac Pitchers

Credit: J Muckle; Styling: Rebekah Peppler

Part slushie, part serious cocktail, this cider- and bourbon-spiked treat is guaranteed to get even the most self-serious “grown-ups” grinning. Prep the shaved ice the night before and when it comes to party time, all you’ll have to do is scoop and pour.

Get the recipe: Hard Cider Slush

Credit: Jennifer Causey

This Caribbean-inspired punch was created with the holidays in mind, but you can enjoy this dark, complex drink any time of year. The ingredient list is a little long (nine ingredients, including three types of alcohol), but with a 25-serving yield, it’s well worth the trip to the store.

Get the recipe: Holiday Punch

Credit: J Muckle; Styling: Rebekah Peppler

This unconventional Basque country riff on sangria combines dry red wine with cola and a bright shot of fresh lemon juice. Just the right mix of sweet and tart, it makes a surprising (and surprisingly sophisticated) addition to any holiday bar—especially when dressed up with a ruby red maraschino cherry ice ring.

Get the recipe: Kalimotxo

Credit: J Muckle; Styling: Rebekah Peppler

This big batch version of a Prohbition-era classic goes down easy—but be warned: behind that citrus and cognac smoothness, it packs a serious punch. Rimming the serving glasses with sugar takes a few minutes of effort, but adds a wonderful festive edge.

Get the recipe: Sidecar Punch

Credit: Victor Protasio

A generous serving of lime juice keeps this fruity cocktail from getting too sweet. It contains a whole bottle of tequila and yields 14 cups, so with any luck, this is the only drink you’ll have to make all night long.

Get the recipe: Pomegranate-Lime Tequila Punch

Credit: J Muckle; Styling: Rebekah Peppler

While every bit as smooth and refreshing as the classic vodka cocktail that inspired it, this party-sized version of the Moscow Mule adds one upgrade: a subtle, cool, and inviting note of mint. The spicier your ginger beer, the more fire and bite your punch will have—so choose accordingly.

Get the recipe: Minty Moscow Mule Punch

Credit: Stephen DeVries

Swap out your preferred sangria wine for rosé for this bright, cheerful beverage. The addition of kombucha gives this batch cocktail an unexpected bite and makes this fresh drinks seem—dare we say it—actually healthy.

Get the recipe: Kombucha-Rosé Raspberry Sangria

Credit: J Muckle; Styling: Rebekah Peppler

This electric twist on the Negroni swaps a yellow-hued French herbal liqueur, Suze, in place of the traditional, ruby red Campari—but still maintains the cocktail’s signature well-balanced bitterness. If Suze is hard to find in your area, other fortified aperitifs like Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc can be used in its place, though with slightly sweeter results.

Get the recipe: White Negroni Punch

Credit: J Muckle; Styling: Rebekah Peppler

Gin, grapefruit, and beer may sound like an odd combo, but get them cozy in a punchbowl and you’ll be surprised at how wonderfully they play together. Indeed, grapefruit lends a juicy note while playing off the hoppy bitterness of the IPA and the herbal botanicals in the gin.

Get the recipe: Beer Punch