23 Pitcher Cocktail Recipes to Impress the Guests at Your Next Party

Apposta Cocktail
Photo: Andy Lyons

You know the cocktails that make guests swoon, "That's so pretty!" Well, these are them—and they're remarkably easy to make, even if you're expecting a crowd. With fresh fruit, liqueurs, and all sorts of garnishes, these pitcher drinks for a party bring color and festive flavor to your gathering, in quantities large enough to quench a thirsty group. Scroll through these easy big-batch cocktail recipes, and you'll discover both perfected classics and exciting new flavors. Now grab your favorite cocktail pitcher and let's get the party started.

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Sangria

Sangria
Jason Donnelly

No collection of cocktails for a crowd would be complete without a ruby-red sangria recipe. With brandy, red wine, and two hits of lemon for extra refreshment, this is a party pitcher drink you'll turn to again and again.

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Apposta Cocktail

Apposta Cocktail
Andy Lyons

Try this Italian drink recipe, and you'll stop your search for big-batch cocktails that include gin. This baby has everything going for it: gin, Aperol (a refreshing bitter-orange aperitif), vermouth, and citrus, plus an unmistakable Italian essence. And it's perfect for a crowd: This recipe puts the "big" in big-batch cocktails—it serves 12 (although you can easily scale it back for a smaller gathering).

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Grilled Peach Frappé

Blender glass Grilled Peach Frappé
Andy Lyons

When the temperature rises and you're looking for refreshing big-batch summer cocktails, pick up some peaches. Grill the fruit, then toss those juicy lovelies in a blender with fresh lemon, sugar, and a swig of Southern Comfort for one of our coolest (and most creative) pitcher cocktails yet.

Buy It: Ninja Professional 72-Ounce Countertop Blender ($80, Amazon)

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Orange-Ginger Pomegranate Punch

Orange-Ginger Pomegranate Punch
Blaine Moats

Here's a fun make-at-home cocktail featuring fall and winter flavors: This seasonal punch is built around tart pomegranate juice, along with orange liqueur, Prosecco, and fresh ginger. Give your party pitcher drink an herbal finish with some sprigs of rosemary.

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Big-Batch Margaritas

Mexican Margaritas
Karla Conrad

Some guests love inventive craft cocktails, others prefer sticking with the tried-and-true. For the latter crowd, choose a classic pitcher cocktail recipe such as this traditional margarita. If you're expecting a more adventurous group, tweak this recipe with fresh watermelon juice.

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White Cucumber Sangria

Cucumber Sangria
Karla Conrad

How do you make one of the world's most refreshing pitcher cocktails? Start with some of the most refreshing ingredients. Honeydew melon, cucumber, mint, lime, and Sauvignon Blanc (the crispest of crisp wines) team up for one of our most thirst-quenching summer party cocktails ever.

Buy It: Libbey Modern Bar Sangria Entertaining Set with 6 Stemmed Glasses and Pitcher ($50, Amazon)

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Rosé-Cucumber Cooler

Rosè Cucumber Cooler
Andy Lyons

Slightly citrusy and a wee bit floral, elderflower liqueur has been called bartender's bacon because, like bacon, it greatly enhances anything it touches. It's no surprise that the liqueur works beautifully in pitcher drinks for a party. Add it to rosé wine with a little lemon juice for a guaranteed head-turner.

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Sparkling Golden Sangria

Sparkling Golden Sangria
Karla Conrad

Unite the warmth of the sun with the coolness of a breeze. This beachy cocktail includes orange liqueur and mint—among other enticing ingredients—for the perfect summer sipper. This sparkling cocktail can be made up to 24 hours ahead so the flavors have time to meld.

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Apple-Cinnamon Winter Sangria

Apple-Cinnamon Winter Sangria
Kritsada Panichgul

Fruity party pitcher drinks aren't just for summer. They're handy for winter gatherings, too, especially when the party's rife with salty snacks, warming fires, and happy holiday revelers. In this case, dried fruits and cinnamon add a seasonal angle to sangria.

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Spicy Beer Mary

Spicy Beer Mary Cocktails
Kritsada Panichgul

Beer cocktails are usually lower in alcohol than spirits, which makes them terrific for late-morning gatherings. This brunch cocktail pitcher combines your favorite savory bloody mary flavors—tomato, Worcestershire, and hot sauce, to name a few— with lager or pilsner beer rather than vodka.

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Tea-Gin Splash

Tea-Gin Splash
Andy Lyons

Spike your iced tea to make this satisfying big-batch gin cocktail. Lemon juice, tea, club soda, and gin combine to create a summery concoction that mingles well with fresh fruit and cucumber slices. For a wilder-tasting sip, use a botanical gin rather than a dry gin. Tasty options come from Scotland, Ireland, and California.

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Pepino Punch

Pepino Punch
Blaine Moats

The dilemma: You're hosting Taco Tuesday, but you want a big-batch cocktail that goes beyond the usual margarita. The solution: the Pepino. This ultra-contemporary cocktail has the sweet-tart angle common to batch summer cocktails but with an ultra-fresh touch of cucumber and the spice of jalapeño.

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Strawberry Sangria

Strawberry Sangria
Andy Lyons

Pitcher drinks for a party are even better when they make the most of your trip to the farmers market. When strawberries are at their ripest, bring home a few pints and plunk them into this colorful beverage. Because it doesn't include a brandy (the high-proof ingredient in many sangria pitcher drinks), this recipe is a good choice for day-drinking.

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The Porcupine

Porcupine drink
Andy Lyons

Thanks to two hits of pineapple—one in the juice and the other as a garnish—drinking this will make you'll feel like you've landed in Hawaii. The fizz comes from a couple of our favorite bubble-makers for pitcher cocktails: prosecco and pale ale beer.

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Bourbon Strawberry Smash

Bourbon-Strawberry Smash
David Tsay

Pairing bourbon with fruit is not a novel idea (think of the cherries and oranges in a classic old-fashioned). But with this cocktail pitcher recipe, we've refreshed the combo with strawberries and lemon. Muddled mint adds a cooling touch.

Buy It: Zulay Kitchen SS Muddler ($10, Target)

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Watermelon-Mint Coolers

Watermelon-Mint Cooler
Andy Lyons

Remember to choose at least one nonalcoholic choice for the abstainers at your cocktail party. Watermelon, mint leaves, lime, and ginger ale make this mojito-inspired choice much more interesting than the usual club soda with lime. (For those who do drink, see the alcoholic version for a great watermelon pitcher cocktail!)

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Vodka Lemonade

Vodka Lemonade
Mark Peterson

On the steamiest of summer nights, this vodka pitcher drink is certain to hit the spot. Go the extra mile by squeezing your own fresh lemon juice—your efforts will be rewarded with bright and tangy results. Garnish with fresh lemon slices and cute paper straws.

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Watermelon Margarita

Watermelon Margaritas
Andy Lyons

Orange liqueur plays up the fruity vibes of this frozen big-batch margarita, which is packed with five cups of fresh seedless watermelon. For extra credit, chill pieces of watermelon a few hours before you serve the drink to use as ice cubes. That way, none of the flavors of this luscious frozen delight will be diluted.

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Pineapple-Ginger Punch

Pineapple-Ginger Punch
Andy Lyons

If you've never had fresh ginger in a beverage, prepare to fall in love. We adore the way it adds tingle to cocktails. This punch is actually a mocktail, so it will be much appreciated by your guests who don't drink alcohol (although you can add rum or pineapple-flavored vodka if you prefer).

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Basil Lemon Drop

Basil Lemon Drop
Andy Lyons

If you like lemon drop martinis, this is the party drink for you. Homemade basil simple syrup layers on flavor in this pitcher drink. The herb's minty, clove-like flavor pairs with the sweet vodka lemonade for a complex cocktail.

Buy It: Hiware 64-Ounce Glass Pitcher with Stainless Steel Lid ($20, Amazon)

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Peach Bellinis

Peach Bellinis
Blaine Moats

When you're searching for a celebratory summer drink, keep these Champagne cocktails in mind. Sweet peaches and uplifting sparkle bring cheer—as does the fact that this drink requires only five ingredients, one of which is ice.

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Coconut Cream Island Punch

Coconut Cream Island Punch
Con Poulos

We love the classic rum cocktails like mojitos and mai tais. But we also adore the ones that introduce inventive flavor combinations, such as this recipe. Star fruit is the unexpected pleasure here (it's a beautiful garnish), and mixing the rum with grapefruit soda and coconut sorbet brings a refreshing balance of sweet and tart. Cheers!

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The Aloha Shandy

Aloha Shandy
Andy Lyons

Shandy is typically a half-and-half mixture of lemonade and beer. Although those flavors are included in this version, we also punched it up with tropical passion fruit juice (or mango juice—your choice!) Serve this shandy with a lemon slice garnish at your next summer party.

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