Where to Find Over-the-Top Large-Format Cocktails

By Emily Millian
The Best Large-Format Group Cocktails in Boston
Hojoko / Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

You can enjoy any cocktail with friends, but there are some that necessitate a team effort. We’re talking about large-format cocktails—the kind you order to start your big night out with a bang. From classic Scorpion Bowls to gonzo creations strictly served to parties of four or more, get your crew together and go out for Boston’s best group drinks.


Bar at Hojoko
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Get the band back together at Hojoko, a rock-themed izakaya in Fenway, to share a Punch Bowl. This section of the menu takes Hojoko’s cocktail cred and turns it up to 11 with festive presentations serving three to six people. A large-format Queens Park Swizzle uses plenty of fresh mint along with 151 rum and lime. Jasper’s Punch is a potent blend of overproof rum, amaro angostura, lime, and nutmeg deserving of the torch that crowns its huge vessel. Waioli Punch is rum-soaked and then some: This giant cup comes with an upturned bottle of bubbly as garnish. 


Yvonne’s | Best Large-Format Group Cocktails in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

With its history as part of a venerable grande dame of Boston restaurants, the hand-carved, mahogany bar at Yvonne’s—original to Locke-Ober—is like a shrine to swanky over-indulgence. So it should come as no surprise that XL cocktails are both available and over-the-top from this Downtown Crossing speakeasy. Two people can partake in “Tea Service” cocktails, such as Wild Flower, with gin, pear brandy, chamomile, lemon, and walnut bitters—which arrive in a dainty teapot on a tray. Groups of four-plus can sip large-format cocktails delivered in a stunning crystal tower overflowing with fruity, floral, and sometimes flaming garnishes.

The Baldwin Bar

The Baldwin Bar | Best Large-Format Group Cocktails in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

The lounge upstairs from Woburn’s acclaimed Baldwin Bar, The Baldwin & Sons Trading Co. is a polished place to party. The intimate, 45-seat library bar has a refined vibe with destination-worthy menus matching Sichuan Chinese cuisine and inventive tiki cocktails. Open Thursday through Sunday, the Trading Co. is a great place for groups to make reservations memorable. Parties from two to six can tell the bartender what spirits and flavors they like, then receive a custom-made, oversized drink served in an outrageous vessel such as a wooden treasure chest or a copper swan. (In the main Baldwin Bar downstairs, large-format cocktails are occasionally available if you ask your server.)

Wusong Road

Wusong Road
Credit: Lauren Hallion

On the edge of Harvard Square in the old Conductor’s Building, a transportive jungle-like atmosphere awaits: Wusong Road. Chef-owner Jason Doo is a Menton alum and a second-generation restaurateur, inspired by the connection between tiki drink culture and his American Chinese cuisine. The result is a retro restaurant vibe where scorpion bowls reign supreme. A destination-worthy spot, Wusong Road’s Scorpion Bowl is cause for celebration: Filled with gin, gold rum, brandy, homemade orgeat, cane syrup, fresh orange juice, and lime juice, the small punch bowl-size cocktail glows (literally) with an extra-long colorful straw bobbing about.

Shore Leave

Shore Leave group cocktail
Credit: Chris McIntosh

Below street level beneath new South End space, escape to the tropical oasis of Shore Leave. A sushi bar better known for over-the-top, vacation-inspired drinks, the Rule 35 is no exception. This bright and bold libation that serves two people features cachaca, gin, sherry, Grand Marnier, lemon, and pepita orgeat. Think warm, nutty flavors from the cachaca and pepita orgeat contrasted with a brightness of citrus from the Grand Marnier and lemon. If you think it sounds festive, just wait until Christmas to see what the Shore Leave has in store for its super extra, annual holiday season pop-up, Sippin’ Santa.

State Park

Interior of State Park
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Large-format cocktails are meant to be fun, flirty, and social, but they do not need to be overcomplicated. Dive bar-esque State Park keeps things easy peasy with Pitcher Cocktails. The Kendall Square haunt mixes Fernet and Coke in a 60-ounce jug—yep, that’s it. Or perhaps a pitcher of Pineapple Cynar Spritz is a little bit more your speed with pineapple Cynar, sparkling wine, and soda. Or, leave the bar glowing following an Afterglow pitcher, made with fortified wine, bright orange cordial, and soda. There are also classics in bulk, like a good ol’ Cape Codder.

Mariel Boston

While the grandiose space in downtown Boston makes quite the statement at lavish Cuban restaurant Mariel, it’s the head-turning DTO (Daiquiri Time Out) that we are here for. (And since she’s sister to Yvonne’s—see later on this list—you know a reputation for cocktails precedes.) Balancing four or more half-sized daiquiris on a metal tree surrounded by flaming limes, it’s a stunning presentation that tastes amazing, too. This classic cocktail gets its updated flavor from a syrup infused with a South American citrus fruit. Camera drinks first! Let this be your reminder that we all need a quick time out every now and again. 

Shojo Cold Tea

After 2 a.m. when the rest of the city quiets and goes to sleep, people historically ventured into Chinatown in search of one more drink. Asking for some cold tea—the original “if you know, you know”—was the code phrase that brought a teapot filled with some sort of booze slyly to your table. As a nod to the neighborhood’s history, Shojo (legally) serves Cold Tea for Two. Ingredients change frequently to incorporate the freshest seasonal fruits, though Shojo often uses Chinatown flavors like oolong tea-infused vodka and syrups.

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen

Oak Long Bar + Kitchen
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

The Beaux-Arts-style hotel Fairmont Copley Plaza, rich in Boston history, has long been a symbol of luxury in the city., At its restaurant Oak Long Bar + Kitchen, the tradition of grand decadence continues at the coppertop bar with its lavish leather seating. Opulence is found on the cocktail list, too: Meet Mama Flamingo. Served in a metallic pink flamingo for a flock of four, this shareable cocktail makes quite a splash, filled with Absolut mandarin vodka, lychee, cranberry, and grapefruit, garnished with a bouquet of fresh mint.

Eric Twardzik contributed reporting.

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