Big game, big drinks: Large-batch cocktail recipes for your Super Bowl crowd

Mackensy Lunsford
Southern Kitchen

You don't need to love football to love the Super Bowl — or at least Super Bowl parties. Even if you're not sure who's playing, celebrating around a table laden with delicious food and drink is always in season.

When I've thrown Super Bowl parties in the past, I've often ordered up small kegs to put on the back porch. But now that I'm older and run with an older crowd, just about everyone I know tries to limit how much beer they drink. These large-batch cocktails are just the ticket for a crowd like that.

As always, a reminder to not drink and drive. With that in mind, the first large-batch recipe in our roundup makes a gallon of nonalcoholic sweet tea punch so you can have something for the designated drivers to drink.

Southern sweet tea punch.

Southern sweet tea punch

This is a booze-free punch but, for those not limiting alcohol, you can add about 1.5 ounces of bourbon or vodka per drink to spike it. Yes, that was a football pun.

Recipe courtesy of Gladys Adams of Adams Catering & Event Services.

Serves: 16 (makes 1 gallon)

Hands on time: 5 minutes

Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients

2 family-size tea bags

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate

1 (12-ounce) can pineapple-orange concentrate

1 lemon or orange, sliced (optional)

2 mint sprigs (optional)

Instructions

Bring 8 cups water to boil. Add the tea bags; steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Pour the tea into a gallon plastic jug with a tight lid. Add the concentrates, stir and chill, up to 24 hours in advance.

Before the picnic or event, fill the rest of the jug with ice cubes and add the fruit slices and mint sprigs. This recipe calls for at least 2 hours of chilling time.

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Beer-garitas

Yes, these are margaritas made with beer, which is perfect if you have a lot of brewskies on hand for a crowd but you're hosting a few people who don't like the taste.

Beer-garitas are perfect for a Super Bowl party.

You can reduce the tequila to your preference if you'd like a lower-grade drink. To make a frozen beer-garita, reduce the total number of beers to two, and combine the limeade concentrate and tequila in a blender with crushed ice.

Serves: 8

Hands on time: 5 minutes

Total time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

1 (12-ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate

6 to 12 ounces tequila

3 (12-ounce) Mexican-style beers, such as Corona

Ice

Lime slices for garnish

Instructions

In a pitcher, stir together the limeade and tequila until well-combined. Add the beers. Pour into individual glasses over ice; garnish with lime slices.

Peachy Keen Punch

If your party planning is Pinterest-worthy, this refreshing peach-filled punch is the drink for you. If you'd like to get extra creative with your ice, freeze lemon rounds and herbs in a Bundt pan filled with water.

Courtesy of Coopers' Craft "Bourbon Ambassador" Michael Ring.

Serves: 12 to 18

Hands on time: 20 minutes

Total time: 13 hours

Ingredients

Herbed Simple Syrup:

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

5 sprigs fresh mint

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

6 fresh basil leaves

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cocktail:

2 cups Coopers’ Craft Bourbon

20 frozen peach slices

4 cups fresh lemonade

1 cup Herbed Simple Syrup (above)

10 lemon rounds

1 ounce citrus bitters of your choice

5 pounds ice

5 fresh rosemary sprigs 

5 fresh thyme sprigs

1 (375-ml bottle) Korbel extra dry Champagne

Instructions

To make the herbed simple syrup: 

In a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Let steep for 1 hour and then strain into a storage container. Discard the spent herbs and store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To make the punch: 

In a large bowl, combine the peaches and bourbon. Cover, and let sit at room temperature overnight.

The next day, transfer the bourbon-soaked peaches and any remaining juice and bourbon to a punch bowl. Stir in the lemonade, herbed simple syrup, lemon rounds and bitters. Stir to combine and add the ice. Float the herbs on top of the punch and top with the Champagne. Serve.

Sparkling gin punch

This classy sparkling punch is perfect if you have a tale of two parties going on, with a screaming bunch in the basement but a more subdued cocktail crowd in the living room. The flavored ice cubes transform this cocktail's flavors as they melt, keeping it cold without watering it down.

This recipe is courtesy of Sinema in Nashville. 

Serves 10-12

For punch:

1/2 cup Old Dominick Formula No. 10 gin

1/2 cup Italicus Rosolio bergamot liqueur (Lillet Rose or an elderflower liqueur would make a fine substitute)

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice

1 to 1 1/2 cup soda water

750 ML bottle brut sparkling wine

For ice cubes:

2 cups lemonade

2 cups ginger ale

1/2 oz Fee Brothers mint bitters

Instructions

For the ice: 

Combine lemonade, ginger ale and bitters. Put in ice tray overnight to form flavored cubes for serving.

For the punch: 

Combine gin, bergamot liqueur and pomegranate juice in a pitcher overnight to chill.

When ready to serve, use either a large pitcher or bowl, and add juice/liquor mixture to sparkling wine and soda water. Serve over lemon ginger mint ice cubes (cubes can be served crushed or whole).

Mackensy Lunsford is the food and culture storyteller for USA TODAY Network's South region and the editor of Southern Kitchen.

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Reach me: mlunsford@southernkitchen.com