The King's Crown, made of moonshine, St. Germain, chamomile tea and pomengranate juice, makes a festive and easy batch cocktail to serve your guests at your holiday party. Recipe created by Craft Event Bar owner Carly Witmer. VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

Dayton-area cocktail expert: 2 great batch cocktails for your holiday party

Want to really impress your guests at your holiday party and serve delicious cocktails with minimal effort?  

If you've never attempted a batch cocktail, then Craft Event Bar is here to save you time and sanity, while making your holiday party a huge success. 

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Founded by Pleasant Hill couple Hugh Kelly and Carly Witmer, Craft Event Bar is a traveling bartending service that creates delicious and unique cocktails for weddings, corporate events, and private parties. The duo also provides exclusive bartending service to Canyon Run Ranch, a rustic event space in Pleasant Hill.

When you're serving upwards of 100 people per event, you learn some tricks and special recipes to help you save time, and keep your guests happy and loving your drinks. Witmer shared two of her favorite recipes — the first, a new original; the second, a tried-and-true family favorite — that are simply perfect for your holiday gathering, no matter how big or small.

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🍸The King’s Crown: The prettiest batch cocktail you’ll drink all season

Carly Witmer of Craft Event Bar gathers her ingredients for the King's Crown batch cocktail at Canyon Run Ranch. Vivienne Machi/ STAFF

Witmer shares a holiday batch creation that is a fruity, dangerously smooth moonshine drink dubbed The King’s Crown. 

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“This drink was inspired by the health tonics that were made for King Henry VIII in the 16th century, which was a fascination of mine,” she said. “I was so struck by this pink drink, where they mixed actual gold leaf into it, which was supposed to have some kind of beneficial digestive property. And I thought, I have to use gold leaf in a drink because it’s so luxurious and beautiful, and it’s perfect for the holidays.” 

To keep with the health theme (because who doesn’t want to feel healthy while indulging?), Witmer added pomegranate juice, St. Germain elderflower liqueur — elderflower has been used in traditional medicine for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties — and chamomile tea. 

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“Chamomile tea smoothes the edges of the ‘moonshine’, as well as any frayed nerves,” she said. The “crowning” touch is a ring of ice garnished with pomegranate seeds and edible gold flakes, available via Amazon.com.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 part Original Moonshine* chilled, from the freezer (real moonshine certainly could be used as well, or vodka) 
  • 1 part pomegranate juice, refrigerated 
  • 1/2 part St. Germain liqueur 
  • 1/2 part chamomile tea- chilled, from the refrigerator (or choose any tea of your preference) 
  • Crown of Ice 
  • Mix all cold ingredients in a large punch bowl, and float the crown.

Crown of Ice: 

Using a fluted bundt cake pan, layer pomegranate seeds and as much edible gold flake as you like with 2” or so of distilled water, and freeze overnight. If the ice doesn’t immediately release from the pan, bathe it in cold water until it does.

Carly Witmer of Craft Event Bar adds several ingredients for the King's Crown recipe. VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

🍸The best batch eggnog you’ll try all season

Carly Witmer's recipe for batch eggnog may not look exactly like this photo from the Dayton Daily News archives, but she swears you won't be able to get enough of it. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVES

Based on Witmer’s tips for creating batch cocktails, eggnog is not a prime candidate. But she and Kelly swear by this recipe, which is time-intensive in preparation, but once it’s done, you and your guests can sip on it all night. The recipe is derived from techniques in the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, adjusted based on Witmer’s family’s desire for a stronger drink.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 6 large eggs plus 2 large yolks 
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 4 cups whole milk 
  • 1-1/4 cup brandy 
  • 1/4 cup Frangelico 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus extra for garnish 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Whisk eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt together in heavy 3 or 4 quart saucepan. Stir in milk, 1/2 cup at a time, blending well. Heat slowly over lowest possible heat, stirring constantly until custard registers 160 degrees, thickens, and coats spoon, 25-30 minutes.  2. Pour custard through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl; stir in brandy, Frangelico, and nutmeg. If you like vanilla, throw a tablespoon in here. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.  3. Just prior to serving, whip cream in medium bowl to very soft peaks and gently fold into custard mixture until incorporated. Serve in chilled punch bowl or cups, garnishing with nutmeg.  Armed with those two recipes, you should be able to make any holiday party an instant hit. Happy holiday drinking! Armed with those two recipes, you should be able to make any holiday party an instant hit. Happy holiday drinking!
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