I have a lot of experience throwing a cocktail party or five, and I can tell you pre-batched cocktails are the way to go. Ideally, something you can throw in a punch bowl that has no more than three or four ingredients.
If you want to get fancy, then by all means – go for it! But batch cocktails are always popular, so maybe save your energy for all that hosting. Guests love not having to think about what to drink, and batched cocktails are tasty and simple. I generally like to have a little something for everyone. Wine (red and white), some beer, and a few spirits. Mostly vodka, some gin, and (of course) whiskey.
Tequila cocktails are delicious AND a crowd pleaser…(one word: margaritas) but they’re also great because the average Joan can’t be trusted to make their own tequila drinks.
I definitely recommend putting together something as simple as a margarita or even a Paloma, as they’re easily prepared ahead of time. Below is my take on a large, “punch-style” cocktail:
1. First, gather your ingredients. Use tequila or, if you are me, mezcal. Mezcal adds a little smoky/earthy note to the flavor and is like tequila’s sister, so I like to use them both.
2. From there, the only other things you need are grapefruit juice and simple syrup. These items are easy to prepare yourself, but if you’re short on time, you can also find them at any grocery store.
3. If you don’t have a fancy punch bowl, improvise. I’ve used my kitchen aid mixing bowl before in a pinch. So literally any large bowl will do, add a ladle or a large spoon and you’re set!
4. To make the simple syrup, add 2 cups of sugar to 2 cups of water in a pan and heat on medium on the stove, allowing the sugar to dissolve.
5. For pink peppercorn syrup, add 1 cup of pink peppercorns to the simple syrup and let steep until sugar dissolves. Then strain off peppercorns. You can put any spin you want on the simple syrup, but I’m a fan of the pink peppercorns. The spiced and sweet combo works really well for tequila.