French 75 Punch Recipe
I love to host a cocktail party or evening soiree for friends. Because I—and so many of my guests—like a large assortment of adult beverages, there is always Virginia beer and Virginia wine on hand.
While I also love to shake up a good cocktail or two for myself and others, I don’t love getting stuck behind the bar all night.
One solution: big batch drinks. These aren’t your parent’s boozy punch made with equal parts rum, fruit juice and lemon-lime soda. These are gorgeous cocktails with fresh ingredients, as well as a generous pour, or two, of Virginia spirits.
I was speaking about this with my good friend Kara Newman, a food/wine/spirits writer and contributing editor for spirits to Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and she was generous to share these recipes from her book, Cocktails for a Crowd.
French 75 Punch
The French 75 is a classic cocktail usually made with cognac, though gin is sometimes substituted, and that’s the spirit I call for in this recipe. It typically isn’t served as a punch but works quite well in this format. Serve this fresh, fragrant variation at any occasion that calls for toasting, like a brunch or a bridal or baby shower.
A simple chunk of ice, such as one frozen in a loaf pan or bowl will suffice, but for a special, decorative touch, consider freezing orange wheels inside the ice.
2 cups gin, such as Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces simple syrup
1/2 teaspoon orange bitters
4 cups dry champagne or other sparkling dry white wine, chilled
1 ice block
8 orange wheels, for garnish
In a punch bowl, combine the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters and stir well. Just before serving, pour in the champagne and stir gently. Add the ice and garnish with the orange wheels.
To serve, ladle into punch glasses.