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Make your cocktails for a crowd
Instead of walking back and forth to the kitchen to make each of your guests a cocktail, why not make one big batch?
That’s what we’re doing today in this Ultimate Guide To Batching Cocktails For Parties. Making a large batch of one cocktail recipe either in a punch bowl, pitcher, or growler will make your life easier when serving guests. It’ll also keep you from getting stuck in the kitchen and allow you to enjoy the party!
While this process isn’t exactly rocket science, batching cocktails for parties does come with its fair share of technicalities. This helpful guide will show you how to convert one single cocktail recipe into a large batch without sacrificing the drink’s flavor, character, and qualities.
Why batch cocktails?
Everyone loves signature party drinks when they go out, but that isn’t very fun for the host who has to make them one by one. That’s why batching cocktails is so great! It saves the party host tons of time and creates a stress-free experience. Plus, everyone gets a taste of your delicious creations.
Whether you like fruity cocktails or something a little stronger, the recipe can easily be transformed into a larger portion for more than one person.
When should you make big batch cocktails?
You should make large quantities of pitcher cocktails when you want to be fully immersed in the celebrations you’re hosting. Make them for casual get-togethers when you need to catch up with friends and family, or you could make a few different recipes if you’re hosting a larger crowd.
In the end, make your cocktails in bulk for weddings, bridal showers, brunch, the holidays...basically any time you want to stay stress-free and actually enjoy your party!
Essential tools when batching cocktails for parties
Serving and measuring big batch party drinks requires a few special tools. Here’s what you need:
Punch bowl or pitcher
Your guests need to serve themselves and a punch bowl, pitcher, growler, or even a large glass bottle like these, will make this easy. Don’t forget the ladle if you decide to use a punch bowl!
Measuring cups and spoons
To make measuring your ingredients a breeze. Use a large liquid measuring cup to measure out your liquor, juices, or sodas. Use a small measuring cup, jigger, or measuring spoons to add extra flavors, a hint of citrus, or sweeteners.
This will come in handy when you’re making drinks in a narrow-necked glass bottle or jar. Using a funnel will prevent spills and make cleanup easy.
A kitchen scale is optional but will help you be as accurate as possible when measuring the ingredients. After all, precision is key in a well-balanced cocktail!
This will help you as you test different recipes. Make notes to help you keep track of the amount of water you use for dilution and the final measurements for your large-scale drink.
The diluting debate
All cocktails benefit from a little dilution using water or ice. You can dilute the cocktails by serving each glass with ice, pouring water right into the pitcher, or stirring ice into the mix.
A general rule of thumb in this debate is, if what you’re serving is normally shaken, then the cocktail doesn’t require much dilution and should be served on the rocks. If the recipe is traditionally served over crushed ice, add ice directly into the drink and serve the batch “punch style”.
How much to dilute?
To dilute your large batch cocktails, start by making 1 serving without ice and measure the drink in ounces.
Next, shake or stir the drink with the amount of ice you would normally use, then strain and remeasure.
Use your notepad to calculate the difference in ounces between the two to get the amount of water you need to add per serving of the big batch version of the cocktail.
It's that easy!
How to batch cocktails for parties
Now that you have your ingredients and tools ready, it’s time to make our cocktails! Here’s a general guide on preparing cocktails in bulk:
Step 1: Prepare ahead of time
Do what you can to prepare your cocktails in advance. Finish your shopping a few days beforehand, and make (or buy) lots of ice. Pre-wash, slice, or prepare your garnishes.
You may want to have everything in the jug ready to go before your guests arrive, but this could result in the cocktail tasting unbalanced or slightly off. Don’t add anything bubbly, like club soda, tonic, or prosecco, until you’re ready to serve.
Step 2: Begin with the liquor
This step usually takes place closer to the end in traditional single-serving recipes. Instead, you're going to start with adding the spirit or liquor instead of the flavor mix-ins, such as bitters, citrus, herbs, or sweeteners.
Step 3: Add the flavor
We don’t want to go overboard with the flavors and aromatics because this could make the cocktail taste too sweet, overly strong, or bitter.
Try to use the same amount or only a smidge more of bitters or citrus in your large batch cocktail, as too much can completely throw off the flavor.
Step 4: Dilute if needed
Have serving ice ready in your freezer, stir some water into the cocktail mix (about 1 to 1.5 ounces per serving depending on your measurements from before), or add ice into the bowl or pitcher with the drink.
Do what’s best for what you’re serving. Feel free to use tap water, filtered, or whatever water you are happy drinking!
- Up your party game by chilling your cocktail glasses before serving your drinks!
- A chilled glass will absolutely take it up a notch and help keep your guests' cocktails cold.
Step 5: Add the bubbles
Champagne, club soda, sparkling wine, tonic, or sparkling water must come last (when it’s a part of your recipe). Pour them into the mix right before it’s time to serve so your guests can enjoy a fun and fizzy drink.
Step 6: Adjust the flavors
Just like adding salt at the end of the meal, we have to give the drink a taste to make sure there is nothing missing. Give it a taste and adjust any flavors to help it taste as close to the original recipe as possible.
Easy cocktails to make in bulk
Now it’s time for the fun part! You can make any of the following cocktail recipes in large batches for any occasion:
Cocktail recipes made with only booze will keep well in the fridge and won’t lose their balance. You can even keep them in the freezer before serving.
Fruity or citrusy drinks
You can batch cocktails for parties that are fruit or citrus-heavy, but the longer they sit, the more likely they are to change in flavor. You can blame this on the citrus. I recommend making these no longer than 24 hours before serving and storing them in the fridge.
You can also mix everything together, except the citrus juice, beforehand and add the juice right before serving!
- My sparkling hibiscus lime punch
- My sparkling blueberry lemonade (as a non-alcoholic option)
Sparkling or fizzy cocktails
Mix all of the ingredients in these cocktails together except for the sparkling wine, water, soda, or prosecco. Add it in right before serving so the drink can be as fizzy as possible. Again, don’t put these recipes together more than 24 hours in advance and store them in the fridge.
🎉 It's time to cook! 🎉
Alright, friend! It's your turn to make this delish recipe for your next get-together.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ When you do, please leave a comment and star rating below so we can hear what you think! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
How to Batch Cocktails
- cocktail ingredients
Calculate the amount of dilution
- Make one serving of the cocktail you want to turn into a big batch (original recipe), without ice. No shaking, stirring or adding ice in any manner.
- Measure how many ounces the cocktail makes and make a note of it. This is the first weight.
- Now add ice to the 1 serving cocktail you just measured.
- Shake or stir with ice according to the original recipe.
- Strain the ice from the cocktail and remeasure in ounces and make a note of it. This is the second weight.
- Subtract the first weight of the cocktail from the second weight of the cocktail. The number that remains is the amount of water per serving you'll add to the big batch cocktail.
Make the big batch cocktail
- Decide how many servings of the original recipe you want to make.
- Calculate how much of each ingredient you'll need (including the water for dilution).
- Start by adding the liquor to a large container.
- Then the more flavorful ingreidnets (like bitters, citrus, etc.)
- Add the water for dilution.
- If using, add the bubbles right before serving.
- Taste the big batch cocktail and adjust the ingredients as needed.
- Store in the refrigerator before serving!
- This is an example recipe on how to batch a negroni cocktail. Follow these steps to figure out the amount of water you'll need to dilute your big batch cocktail with.