The Serious Eats Cookie Swap is one of our favorite annual traditions, when many of our writers and friends come in to swap and eat dozens and dozens of cookies.
But I decided quite awhile ago that I wasn't going to play the cookie game. Nope—I was going to make the punch. And since the Cookie Swap gets bigger and better every year, we went all-out this time, asking three NYC bartenders we love for recipes.
What we ended up with: a rum punch that tastes nothing like most rum punches, a gin punch rich with warm winter flavors, and a refreshing Scotch punch with unexpected spice.
Many drinks designed for cocktail bars include custom ingredients. Two of these require syrups that you make ahead, but they're simple as can be: if you know how to 1. boil water and 2. stir, you can make them.
Kenny McCoy's 'Peg Leg Punch'
Brugal Extra Dry Rum meets Cocchi Americano and Gran Classico in this punch from Kenny McCoy of Ward III and The Rum House. If you're used to thinking of rum punches as sugary, tropical concoctions, this will change your mind. Top off with champagne to taste.
Frank Cisneros's 'Poinsettia Punch'
A bright pink, gin-based punch might sound like a light, fruity drink, but it's anything but. In this drink from Frank Cisneros (Gin Palace), floral NOLET'S Silver Dry Gin takes on warm winter spice through allspice dram and cinnamon syrup, while lemon juice and a touch of grenadine bring in citrus and sweetness. As a garnish, Cisneros recommends a cloved lemon wheel.
John McCarthy's 'Scotch Regency Punch'
This drink disappeared within half an hour at the cookie swap—we're guessing that you can write "cardamom" on anything and people will love it. Here, it meets lemon, Black Grouse, and soda for what's a essentially a scotch Tom Collins against a cardamom backdrop.
If you're more into rum than Scotch, swapping out the Black Grouse for dry Brugal rum works equally well, which McCarthy calls the "Pedro Collins."