Cheers! A Hostess’ Guide to Cocktails and Mocktails for Big Parties

Take some of the stress out of entertaining with large-batch alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages that are sure to wow your guests.

Parties are meant to be fun, not stressful, but if you’re stuck mixing drinks rather than mingling with your guests, finding a moment to enjoy yourself as the host can be tough. Rather than stock the bar with every spirit and mixer imaginable or make made-to-order drinks throughout the event, take some of the heavy lifting out of your next soiree with make-ahead drinks that can be crafted in bulk.

We’ve gathered 8 tasty large-batch beverages that are sure to keep the party going while keeping stress levels to a minimum. And if you’re catering to those who don’t imbibe, not to worry! We have some delicious mocktail recipes. too.

But before we start with the fancy drinks, make your guests stay well hydrated by setting a pitcher of fresh filtered water out where everyone can easily pour themselves a glass or three throughout the night.

Cranberry Moscow Mule

You might be familiar with the popular Moscow Mule, traditionally made with vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. This is a tried-and-true classic, with a cranberry twist.

You Need:

For the Cranberry Simple Syrup:
1 cup filtered water
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh cranberries

For the Cocktails:
2 ½  cups vodka
2/3 cups Cranberry Simple Syrup
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
4 cups ginger beer


For the cranberry simple syrup, pour 1 cup filtered water into a saucepan. Add 1 cup of sugar, stirring constantly over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and let simmer on low until cranberries burst and the syrup begins turn red. Remove from heat. Once cool, remove the cranberries using a sieve.

Combine the cranberry simple syrup, vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer and serve over ice.

Slow Cooker Hot Toddies

When hosting a party, anything cooked in the slow cooker is a big win for reducing stress. Perfect for winter gatherings and cold nights, this spiced-infused hot, boozy beverage is sure to make spirits bright.

You Need:

Slow Cooker
12 cups of filtered hot water
2 lemons thinly sliced
1 orange sliced
5 star anise
10 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 “nobs” of raw ginger
Bourbon for serving


Add everything but the bourbon to a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours. To serve, add 1.5 oz of bourbon mug or teacup (leave out for mocktails) and ladle warm mixture on top.


Fruity, refreshing and surprisingly adaptable for parties throughout the seasons, sangria makes our list as a near-perfect drink for large parties. You can choose red, white or even rosé wine as your base, but we like a traditional Spanish Red Sangria since it’s a favorite throughout the year. Note: We’ve opted for more traditional ingredients, but feel free to mix up your fruit to include pineapple, strawberries or grapes.

You Need:

½ cup chopped apple
½ slice orange
3 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup orange juice
1 bottle Spanish red wine
⅓ cup brandy
1 large pitcher


Muddle fruit with sugar at the bottom of a pitcher. Add juice and brandy and muddle again. Add red wine and stir. Store in a fridge to chill and serve in a glass over ice.


There’s no question that eggnog is a holiday party favorite, but it can also be a bit labor intensive. Instead of breaking out the standing mixer and separating egg yolks, opt for this eggnog hack that is still sure to be a crowd pleaser.

You Need:

1 gallon vanilla ice cream
1 cup bourbon
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Cinnamon sticks for garnish
1 can whipped cream
Nutmeg, to taste


Add ice cream to a punch bowl and let melt at room temperature. Once melted, add bourbon and chill in the fridge. To serve, ladle into glass and garnish with whipped cream, grated nutmeg and cinnamon stick.

Mulled Wine

If you’re looking for an easy, cozy drink for a wintertime party, try putting on a pot of mulled wine. Also known as “spiced wine,” this delicious sipper combines red wine with aromatic spices (aka mulling spices) and, similar to sangria, can be spiked with brandy.

You Need:

1 bottle of dry red wine
Mulling spices (or if unavailable, add 8 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks and 2 star anise)
1 orange sliced
3 tablespoons honey
¼ cup brandy


Add all ingredients to a large pot and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat to a low simmer. Drop heat to low and cover. Simmer for at least 15 minutes to fully infuse flavors.

Hot Chocolate Bar

Planning a family affair? Delight the kiddos (and even the grownups) with whimsical hot chocolate bar with all the fixings.

You Need:

1 gallon whole milk
1 ¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup hot water
1 bar dark chocolate

Toppings: Sprinkles, marshmallows, chocolate chips, peppermint sticks, whipped cream


Whisk together cocoa, sugar and salt in a large soup pot. Place over medium heat and add hot water and a broken up chocolate bar to melt. Once heated, bring to a simmer and slowly whisk in milk without letting it curdle. Serve in a large hot beverage dispenser with mugs and toppings alongside.

Apple Cider

If you’re looking for a large-batch beverage that you can serve as a cocktail or mocktail, look no further than apple cider. Not only is apple cider a favorite amongst guests, but this deliciously aromatic recipe also doubles as a home fragrance system.

You Need:

1 gallon apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
1 tablespoon cloves
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 orange sliced
1 cup dark rum (optional)
1 cup cinnamon schnapps (optional)


Add cider, spices and orange to a pot and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 2-3 hours. If serving as an alcoholic beverage, add rum and schnapps to cider mixture and strain out aromatics before serving in a mug with a cinnamon stick as an optional garnish.

Elegant Lemonade

Daytime parties and lemonade go hand-in-hand, but if you want to level up this lemon-infused beverage without a lot of effort, add a splash of vodka, a handful of berries and a sprig of mint to instantly elevate this classic beverage.

You Need:

2 cups sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
2 cups water (for the simple syrup)
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
Vodka (optional)
Fresh mint


Start by making a simple syrup by combining water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer to fully dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and set aside. Juice lemons and combine. If too sweet or too sour, add filtered water to taste. Serve over ice with fresh blueberries and mint. Add a splash of vodka if desired.