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How to batch cocktails like a pro

A collection of bottles and glasses filled with a pre-made red cocktail

As the weather warms up, so do the party invites.

Whether you’re a host or a guest, there’s nothing more satisfying than successfully whipping up a batch of your favourite cocktail and bottling it up for later. No one wants to spend their whole night mixing, and this adds a nice dose of variety to the usual wine, beer or pre-mix party-fare.

Let’s get started

Minimise your maths

Batching a cocktail is all about getting your quantities right. Virtually any recipe can be batched successfully, although cocktails that feature bubbles or egg white are best made for immediate drinking.

To get your numbers right, when you look at a cocktail recipe, think of it as parts more than specific volumes. For example, rather than breaking your Negroni into specific milliliters and getting out the calculator and measuring jug, consider its ratios. A Negroni is equal parts Campari, gin and vermouth, a ratio of 1:1:1. You can use any measuring vessel – a teacup, jug, a bottle – as long as you mix it in that ratio. Easy.

Get your transport sorted

If you don’t own a funnel, now is the time to get one. Mix your cocktails in a bucket or large saucepan and use the funnel to pour it back into the original bottles. This is particularly good if you’re heading to a party, as you don’t have to worry about retrieving your bottle at the end of the night. It just heads to the recycling bin with the rest of the empties.

Another great option is to find low-cost pop-top water bottles. This is great for party hosts or those of us who love the idea of coming home to a fuss free cocktail in the evening. Most cocktails will last for a few months pre-batched in the fridge.

If your recipe features perishable items and you’re not planning on getting through the whole batch, just keep your fresh ingredients separate. Mix things like spirits, bitters and sugar syrup together, and leave fruit, fresh herbs, purees or juices out to add just before drinking later.

Dilute…or not

Do you plan on pouring your pre-batched cocktail over ice, or drinking it straight from the fridge? If you’re not going to mix each cup with ice individually, then dilute in advance. Because cocktails are shaken with ice, they are usually diluted with a little water – and they’re meant to be. 

You can make a single cocktail, weigh it, add ice, weigh it again, and then use that as the measure of a single part of water. But that sounds like A LOT of work. Just eyeball it and work off taste. How much ice would you add? What do you reckon that would add to a cocktail? Do that.

The best batches

One of our number one picks is an espresso martini. They’re a real favourite when you head out to a cocktail bar, but the thought of extracting a fresh shot of espresso for every glass, every round, isn’t enticing at home.

Hit up your local cafe for bulk cold brew (clever baristas know their target market like coffee after dark as well!). Mix equal parts of the cold brew, vodka and Mr Black Coffee Liqueur. A little sugar syrup doesn’t go astray either. Add to taste.

If all else fails, go for a punch. It’s an easy set and forget option.

Want more simple cocktails? Try our 3 wine-based cocktails to use up that forgotten bottle on the shelf or get spritzing with 3 simple spritzes.