John McCarthy's Scotch Regency Punch Recipe

Photo: Robyn Lee

This drink disappeared within half an hour at the Serious Eats holiday party—we're guessing that you can write "cardamom" on anything and people will love it. Here, it meets lemon, Black Grouse, and soda for what's a essentially a scotch Tom Collins against a cardamom backdrop.

If you're more into rum than Scotch, swapping out the Black Grouse for dry Brugal rum works equally well, which McCarthy calls the "Pedro Collins."

Note: This recipe makes about 12 ounces of cardamom syrup, more than is needed for the punch recipe; it will keep, tightly sealed, for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Recipe Details

John McCarthy's Scotch Regency Punch Recipe

Active 15 mins
Total 8 hrs 30 mins
Serves 15 servings


  • For the Cardamom Syrup
  • 1 ounce cardamom pods
  • 9 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle Black Grouse scotch
  • 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 12-14 lemons)
  • 7 ounces (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) cardamom syrup
  • soda water


  1. For the Cardamom Syrup: Pulse cardamom pods in a spice grinder or small food processor until broken into large chunks. Combine water and cardamom in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cardamom steep for 15 minutes. Add sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Allow to cool before using. For best results, keep cardamom pods in syrup overnight, then strain before using. Syrup will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

  2. Combine scotch, lemon juice, and syrup in a large punch bowl or pitcher. Chill in refrigerator. Serve each cup of punch over ice and top with soda water.

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