Bourbon and Cider Punch

Story by Steve Coomes; Photography by Heather Wibbels


“Punches, the original batched cocktail, are simple and perfect for entertaining. Party hosts can make just one drink and let guests serve themselves. Punches make opening a beer seem harder by comparison. Relieved of bar duties, hosts have more time for cooking and making guests comfortable.” —Excerpt from the feature “Pow Factor” by Steve Coomes 

Recipes originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of Bourbon+.


  • 1 cup demerara simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 6 cups 90-proof rye bourbon
  • 4 cups cold-pressed apple cider
  • ¾ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 5 dashes Scrappy’s aromatic bitters
  • 4 dashes Scrappy’s cardamom bitters
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 32 ounces club soda
  • 3 fresh oranges for garnish


  • 2 cups demerara sugar (Sugar in the Raw is fine if that’s all you have)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups water


  1. For the demerara syrup, stir together sugar and water, add cinnamon sticks and heat while stirring regularly to help dissolution. When mixture reaches 165 degrees, turn off heat and stir until sugar is fully dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine all ingredients except club soda and fresh oranges in a bowl and stir well. Using a funnel, transfer punch into four well-rinsed 750ml bottles or carafes. Refrigerate for 12 hours, shaking or stirring occasionally to blend further.
  3. When ready to serve, place two bottles of punch in an ice bucket. For each drink, add a little ice and 2 ounces of club soda to a rocks glass. Follow with punch, stir gently, and garnish with freshly peeled and expressed orange peel.
Steve Coomes
Official Contributor
At 15, Steve Coomes started bussing tables in a fine-dining restaurant and got hooked on the business.  He’s written about restaurants for nearly three decades, while adding spirits, travel, and ghostwriting to the mix. Clients include Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Hospitality, Edible Louisville, American Whiskey, Whiskey, Delta Sky, and Winston Industries.