Holidays in Philly

The best New Year’s Eve punch recipes, according to Philly bartenders

These drink bowls make staying home as fun as going out.

Danya Henninger

Philly’s celebration doesn’t culminate until the Mummers march down Broad Street on Jan. 1 — yes, the parade is on — but New Year’s Eve is still a fun night.

One of the best ways to celebrate (especially when it’s ridiculously cold) is to chill at home with friends or loved ones. Not going out doesn’t mean you have to settle for boring drinks, or worry the people you’re hosting will find out about your lack of mixology skills. Punch to the rescue!

Here’s three very different punch recipes, sourced from Philly booze experts. Mix ’em up to help ring in 2018 with a delicious smile.

Smoking Mirrors

by Stefany Stuber, Billy Penn Who’s Next honoree and bartender at Parc

Stef says: “I love making and drinking this cocktail, especially with great company at a party. Also, too much champagne and vodka makes for a terrible headache.”

1 bottle (750 ml) of a peaty scotch
½ bottle (375 ml) of an amaro (e.g. Averna, Ramazzotti, Nonino, etc.)
1½ cups pear nectar
1½ cups rosemary simple syrup (see below)
1 cup lemon juice
½ bottle orange bitters (can substitute OJ)

Mix all ingredients, whisk well to combine, then chill.

Rosemary simple syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
¼ cup rosemary leaves

Combine ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar, then simmer 1 min. Remove from heat and allow to sit 30 min. Strain and store.

Milk Punch

by Sean Nevins, proprietor of Acadia, opening soon in Bella Vista

Sean says: “It sounds strange, but it’s perfect this time of year. Traditionally it is made with brandy, but I prefer bourbon.”

1 bottle (750 ml) bourbon
1½ cups (375 ml) simple syrup
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 quart half and half (can substitute 1 gallon whole milk)

Combine and whisk until frothy. Chill to cool. Whisk and top with grated nutmeg before serving.

El Año Maduro (A Year of Sweet Plantains)

by Alexis Ortega, Billy Penn Who’s Next honoree and server at Vetri Cucina

Alexis says: “Maduros [fried sweet plantains] are something I love to eat, so I wanted to make a syrup to approximate their flavor.”

1 bottle cognac (Brisson recommended)
1 bottle pineapple rum (Plantation recommended)
2⅓ cups pineapple juice
1½ cups lemon juice
1½ cups plantain syrup (see below)
4½ cups (36 oz) ginger beer

Combine ingredients and mix well. Chill before serving.

Plantain syrup

3 large, ripe plantains
2 cups water
2 cups raw cane sugar

Cut ends off plantains and discard. Peel plantains (saving peels for use) and roughly chop the fruit. Place fruit and peels in pot with water. Bring water to a boil and simmer 10 mins or until water has taken full flavor of plantains. Strain mixture and stir in sugar until fully dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Want some more? Explore other Holidays in Philly stories.

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