Our Three Famous Punch Recipes for Cocktail Events

Punch is a classic drink with five ingredients. It has spirit, citrus, sweet, spice and water. Use our three Punch Recipes to impress for your next cocktail and mixology event!

Opening Punch

Serves 8
8 oz Jamaican Rum
4 oz Triple Sec (or other orange flavored liqueur)
4 oz Lemon Juice
12 oz fresh apple cider
8 oz Ginger Ale
8 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Shake Rum, Triple Sec & Lemon juice with Ice.  Strain into punch bowl.  Add Cider and soda. Chill.
Serve 5oz per guest.  Add cinnamon stick to garnish.

Mulled Wine

Serves 6
1 cup apple cider
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
2 oz honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 orange, zested and juiced
4 whole cloves
3 pieces of star anise
1 oranges, sliced, for garnish

Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.


Serves 6
2 large egg yolks
2 oz sugar
1/4 cup half-n-half
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Jamaican rum or cognac or bourbon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
Pinch kosher salt

Add yolks, sugar, and nutmeg in a large shaker.  Stir with a barspoon or whisker and then shake.
Combine dairy, booze and salt to shaker.  Shake.
Add Ice.  Shake until glass is chilled (around a minute of full shaking).
Serve in cups topped with a little extra nutmeg grated right on top.


The Difference Between Liquors and Liqueurs

Or Geshury

Liquor vs. Liqueur

One of the most confusing things to me when I started to bartend was the differences between liquor and liqueur.  It's something that seems pretty simple, so it's easy to gloss over, but actually is a great way to develop your mental model of seeing the world of drinks and how they are constructed.  Here is everything you need to know!

1) Pronunciation:

Because English doesn't use set pronunciations, it's easy to tell how much of a newbie someone is, by whether or not they can say a word correctly.  Therefore, the first thing I like to teach is pronunciation.

Liquor is pronounced Li-Kore and liqueur is pronounced Li-Kerr, like the supermodel whose ex husband punched Justin Bieber.

2) Process:

A liquor is made by distilling alcohol, starting from a mash similar to beer or wine, then making it into a more concentrated form like vodka, brandy, or whisky.

A liqueur is made by adding a sweetener (usually sugar) and some kind of flavor to the alcohol base.  In order to be called a liqueur, the cut off is that the sweetener (sugar, honey etc.) has to make up at least 2.5% of the weight of the finished product.

3) Liqueur vs. Cordial

While the meaning of liqueur is pretty straightforward, the meaning of cordial is a bit more up in the air.  It can either be used in the same way as liqueur (which is common practice nowadays), to differentiate between liqueurs made from herbs, and liqueurs made from fruits and-to a lesser extent-dessert flavors like chocolate and coffee.  It can even mean a really sweet syrup in the UK, where they call something like Rose's lime syrup, rose's lime cordial.

In my opinion, this is a terrible shame, because we should celebrate the wonderful richness of herbal liqueurs and the sweetness of fruit cordials by using those terms to describe them.

One of the drinks that celebrates the interplay between herbal and fruit is the Last Word, a drink that has spawned hundreds of jazz like variations. 

Last Word Recipe:

1 Part Gin (3/4 oz)
1 Part Lemon Juice (3/4 oz.)
1 Part Green Chartreuse (3/4 oz.)
1 Part Maraschino (3/4 oz.)

Shake and Strain, then add a Maraschino cherry garnish!

How To Break Down A Last Word Into Any Other Cocktail

Here's how the recipe breaks down into a ratio that bartenders can use to create an infinite variety of pleasing drinks:

1 Part Liquor- Something strong, which gives the drink character and backbone.
1 Part Sour- Something sour, which gives the drink freshness and astringency (we'll talk more about basic cocktail balance in a future article).
1 Part Liqueur (Herbal) - Something sweet and herbal, which balances out the sourness and adds complexity.
1 Part Cordial (Fruit or Dessert) - Something sweet and usually fruity.

Shake and Strain, try to match the garnish with the cordial to compliment those flavors.

Why Learning Wine Is Important for Bartenders and Bar Owners

Written by Ori Geshury

Why Wine Is Important

Being a great bartender doesn't mean passing the court of sommeliers, and it doesn't mean being able to juggle five bottles at the same time.  It's about being good at a couple dozen key skills, and if you're missing a few of them, you can drastically limit your potential.

A couple months ago, my friend, old fraternity buddy, and impeccable sommelier Erik Segelbaum came by Aqua Vitae.  He rushed in, breathless and excited, very well dressed with a gorgeous Luis Vuitton suitcase in tow.  It's hard to remember that this guy jet setting all around the world and having luxury condos designed and custom built for him used to be an RA in Drexel's Kelly Hall, the most tenement like of residence halls, to save a few bucks. 

It was such an amazing transformation that you couldn't help but be super happy for the guy.

I learned so much from him in the time we spent together, which I'll share with you later, but the part that stood out in my mind the most was when he was talking about the importance of learning more about wine.  Erik had just been named Wine Director for all the restaurants under Steven Starr.  Before then, every restaurant had done it's own thing, so quality, consistency, and regular updates varied quite a bit from place to place.  

Erik's pitch to Steven Starr? This:

"Steven, in a bar like Parc, the cheapest bottle of wine is about twenty five dollars, but the most expensive bottle of wine is one thousand six hundred and fifty dollars.  There isn't anything the restaurant offers that has the potential to make money the way wine does!"

Stop for a second and think about that before reading on. 


Imagine you're a bartender working in a high end bar.  If a couple of guests order extra deserts, or a couple extra cocktails, maybe they'll spend twenty more dollars, and you'll see three or four extra dollars in your tips.  But if you sell a more expensive bottle of wine, and they spend an extra three or four hundred dollars, can you imagine how much of a difference that would make for both you and restaurant?

Since wine has so much money making potential, who do you think is going to get those coveted Friday and Saturday night shifts?

We designed the Aqua Vitae Institute wine seminar to be for beginners and to strip away all the ego, and intimidation that surrounds the wine world, so people can approach it in a simple and easy way and have confidence to talk to your guests in actual English instead of the hard to understand flowery language that people use to sell there product.

This is actually by design.  One of my favorite books, The Renegade Server, talks about how when bartenders and servers use simple, easy to understand language, they end up being better liked and selling more wine.

We go through the different methods of production as well as flavor differences between the old world and the new.  We'll talk about how wine is made, terroir, serving groups of 8 in the traditional style, and also the language of wine.

The point of this seminar isn't just to give you a lot of new words to learn or wines to try, the point is to develop an excitement and passion for wine that will inspire you to try wine yourself and give you a working framework for furthering yourself in the industry.  The wonderful thing with wine is that each bottle can be totally different from the last, even though they are from the same producer!  That means nearly every experience you have can be fresh and new.  Once you understand our framework, you can learn and grow with every bottle you drink! 

When you share your passion and knowledge with your customers and in your job interviews, amazing things can happen!

To purchase our wine seminar call us at 215-567-7100 or fill out our contact form here. We're also offering wine as part of our VIP program which you can purchase here.