Let’s go over some tricks and tips to batch cocktails.
Tips to Batch Cocktails
Here are six tips to help you batch cocktails.
Know your options.
You don’t have to be a math professor to make recipes large enough for an audience. Instead of pulling out the calculator and calculating the amount, break it into proportions. “It’s the simplest, most efficient method to ensure that your larger-batch cocktails taste exactly as they were designed to,” says Chicago-based cocktail consultant Todd Appel. Consider how quickly could you multiply 3/4 12 ounces and make it into cups? It’s not that easy, is it? Instead, consider the ingredients in the context of their proportions in the final drink.
For instance, cocktails made by 1 1/2 oz. and 3/4 oz. 3/4 oz. is broken down into the ratio of 1-2-1. Once you have figured that out, applying the same ratios to cups, ounces, gallons, and so on is easy. This makes on-the-fly mixing easy. “Even when you’re only carrying an empty juice glass,” adds Appel, “if you know the ratios, you can mix drinks with no precise quantities.” Talmadge Lowe, the Los Angeles-based caterer of cocktails responsible for Pharmacie, is also putting the proportions concept into use and lets guests create their drink after he has the foundation of the drink formulated.
His suggestion? Make one whisky sour using 1 portion each of freshly squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup. Then serve a variety of flavors of bitters to guests to mix into their drinks.
“By design, punches are designed for batching,” says co-founder of San Francisco-based Bon Vivants cocktail company Josh Harris. “You calculate the proportions,” Josh Harris says, “and they remove the task of needing to mix and filter every drink.” Instead, you can make the drink in a large bowl, add an ice block, and let your guests serve themselves. The Barbadian Gin Punch and This Groom’s Fish House Punch are made with a crowd in mind. “With the punch,” Harris says Harris, “you can put it in the fridge and forget about it.”
The Dilution Debate.
Depending on who you inquire, you’ll receive an entirely different answer regarding whether or not you should mix in water into a previously-batched cocktail to compensate for the dilution that results from stirring or shaking one drink. Some bartenders claim that dilution makes batching drinks easier, such as Manhattans and Negronis, and removes the requirement that each drink is stirred by hand with ice. All you need to do is mix the ingredients and add water, chill, and serve.
If you choose this option, you can figure out what water you’ll need to add by weighing one portion of the drink you’re planning on pre-batching after mixing with ice. The difference will be the volume of liquid used to create the drink. You can then multiply the number of servings of the drink you’re planning on batching and adjust according. On the other corner, some bartenders will say that adding water will cause a math error (making an unclean, costly mistake); however, the drink will not be as cold as it could be if it were stirred with an ice cube.
Unless you’re mixing up large quantities of eggs, or nog, save the eggs for drinks that are served in single servings. They require a significant amount of shaking to mix into drinks and may segregate from the rest of the ingredients.
Use Flavored Syrups and Teas.
Want a quick and straightforward way to inject flavors into your drink that has been pre-batched? The solution to Harris is easy–simple syrups. “You’re likely already making a simple syrup,” Harris says. In addition, Harris, “so why not include fresh mint or another herb to enhance the flavor?”
Teas are another fantastic way to enhance flavor. “We include tea in every recipe with a large batch,” Harris says, “they give both dilution and flavor.” In addition, the final results will impress your guests. “Think of it this way,” Harris says, “you begin with a Gimlet as your starting point, and you can easily transform it into a mix of citrus, gin, mint syrup, and possibly some chamomile teas.”
Save Sparklers for the End.
Want to serve a festive bubbly? Mixing drinks in advance does not mean you must cut out the bubbly. “Anything that contains bubbles, such as sparkling wine or club soda, as well as a tonic will be flat,” says Talmadge, “so put them in just ahead of serving.” However, if chilled beforehand and served at the final moment, they are a great way to add a splash of spritz to big-batch drinks.
Here are some resources I recommend:
120 Alcoholic Drinks for Connoisseurs shows you over one hundred unique alcoholic drinks to make and show off to your friends and have a night you won’t forget.
Professional Bartender Kit is a must-have collection for anyone interested in bartending, mixology, or someone who loves to make drinks.
RUBY Decanter w/ Built-in Aerator is easily the best on the market that we recommend.
8oz Premium Flask for when you’re going out and don’t want to blow all your money on drinks.
Stainless Steel Cooling Stones for keeping your drinks cold and classy.
Bartending & Mixology Masterclass teaches you everything you need to know about mixing drinks and alcoholic beverages like a professional.