Anyone else dreaming about a backyard party with friends? Good conversation, laughter, hamburgers on the grill, sipping tasty cool beverages, and kids running around barefoot. I have a kid running around barefoot, I’m not sure he’s worn shoes in two months, but I’m seriously lacking good conversation with friends. No slight to my husband, but...
So in the spirit of optimism and making it easier to have a socially distant gathering or simply make Tuesday night feel a little more festive, we thought we’d share some tips on batching cocktails. Guests can serve themselves while you keep your distance or you can pour yourself a fancy drink in minutes to class up any Zoom happy hour of Netflix binge.
Technically you can make any cocktail into a batch cocktail. All it takes is simple math. Really, there’s not much magic to it. Decide how many servings you want, 2-3 per person is usually pretty safe if you’re having a gathering. Then do some straight up multiplication for your batch recipe. If you choose a recipe with bubbles (soda or sparkling wine) you’ll hold that till you serve. And that’s where the magic comes in, how you serve, but first some math.
For a more visual example I'll work with the fun, light, summer sipper Soft Shock.
Here’s the single recipe:
5 mint leaves
1 tsp simple syrup
1.5 oz fino sherry
.5 oz gin
.75 oz lime juice
5 dashes The Bitter Housewife Cardamom Bitters
Soda water to top
Here’s the recipe for 10 servings, and should fit into a liter size bottle:
A handful of mint leaves (no need to count out 50)
10 tsp (1.75 oz) simple syrup
15 oz fino sherry
5 oz gin
7.5 oz lime juice
~1.5 oz The Bitter Housewife Cardamom Bitters (you can taste and adjust)
With this recipe you’d muddle the mint leaves in a pitcher or even a mixing bowl with the simple syrup and bitters. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients.
From here you can put the mix in a flip top bottle, an empty wine bottle (although it might not all fit) or any container with a lid to put in the fridge. Chill for a few hours or even overnight to let the flavors really meld. Nothing more to do until you’re ready to serve.
Mixtures with fresh ingredients will be good to store up to a week, and booze only mixtures should be good for more than a few weeks (Think: Negroni or Manhattan).
Serving Your Batched Cocktail
If you chose a recipe that didn’t have any bubbles, like a Manhattan or Negroni, put your chilled mixture into a container that is easy to pour from. Flip top bottles are great, a glass pitcher is very Mad Men, but you could also get really fancy and find some small “single serve” bottles that hold just a few ounces and everyone can have their own. Lots of fun ideas. The trick here is making sure folks don’t pour too much. Remind them to pour only 3-4 oz (depending on your recipe) over ice. Give them a jigger or shot glass to measure with.
Since the Soft Shock calls for soda water we have a little more prep to do the day of. For this cocktail I would take the mixture we made, put it in a flip top bottle and store it in a bucket of ice along with a bottle of soda water. Then you can set up a drink station with glasses and a little note with directions. Guests can measure 3 oz of the mix into a glass filled with ice and top with 3-4 more oz of soda water. That simple!!!
Wouldn’t an ice bucket full of Negroni’s in 3 oz bottles be awesome? Someone might think you started reading Martha Stewart Magazine.
Batch Cocktail Recipe Inspiration
Fewer ingredients are often better, but drinks like Sangria and Pimm’s Cup which have a lot of fresh fruit and veggies are great in large portions and easy crowd-pleasers. Drinks that use fresh fruit, sodas, and juice are great for offering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options - you make the base, spike of it and leave some virgin, everybody adds their own soda.
A few to check out and be inspired by: