Batched Cocktails: The Ultimate At Home Drinks Hack

December 26, 2020

The ritual of making a round of cocktails can often be pleasant and soothing — zen in the art of cocktailing, if you will. At times though it may feel more onerous. The latter is particularly true if you’re entertaining and trying to make drinks for many people at once, or when you don’t want to go through the motions because you desperately need a well made libation *right now* — and hasn’t this year been filled with many such moments? The ultimate home drinks hack then is making batched cocktails and keeping them safely stored in your freezer. They’ll be ready to be deployed as soon as the clock strikes cocktail hour, whenever that may be.

Batched Cocktails Pro Tips

When plotting your batched cocktails, you want to focus on spirituous, stirred drinks. “Pre-batching in the freezer works extremely well for stirred drinks because of the higher alcohol content,” says Kim Haasarud, a James-Beard-honored mixologist and cocktail book author at the helm of the forthcoming Garden Bar PHX, opening in Phoenix in early 2021. The higher alcohol content ensures the batch doesn’t actually freeze solid. Furthermore, stirred drinks don’t require the more intensive physical effort that shaken drinks do in order to properly mix their ingredients into a cohesive whole.

Martinis and Negronis are perfect for pre-batching in the freezer,” Haasarud says. “An Old Fashioned, Vieux Carre, Sazerac, Boulevardier, all are great freezer batches.”

You’ll also notice that your batched cocktails deliver a unique, almost creamy or viscous mouthfeel. “Another thing that happens in the freezer is that the entire batch thickens up a bit making for a creamy mouthfeel — the cold temperature forces the molecules to get closer together,” Haasarud says. Consider it another perk of your pre-batched efforts.

Freezer Math

Now that you know the benefits, it’s time to get started. All you need is a measuring cup and an empty 750ml bottle with a solid and secure cap. Then it’s time for some freezer math. In order to save you some time, we’ve done the hard work for you.

For the purposes of this discussion, each 750ml bottle will contain six drinks. Further, 1/6 of the bottle, which is 125ml or approximately 4.25 ounces, will equal 1 part in the recipes you’ll be making.

Building in Dilution

When you stir or shake a drink, you aren’t simply mixing the ingredients. You’re also cooling them down to a desired drinking temperature, and in the process, diluting them with melted ice.

“Anytime one is pre-batching cocktails, you want to add water dilution to the mix,” Haasarud says. “Water is such an integral part of a cocktail recipe, but it’s usually not listed as an ingredient because one is stirring or shaking it with ice which adds the dilution there. Most cocktails should be diluted about 25 percent.”

With that recommendation in hand, that’s 1.5 parts per bottle (187.5ml based on our freezer math above). If you’re used to making and pouring cocktails at home, you’ll see that equals about 6.25 ounces or a bit more than an ounce per drink. This is probably what you’re accustomed to seeing in terms of volume when you’re making cocktails one at a time.

By freezing and diluting the ingredients you’ve already accomplished the two outcomes ice would otherwise provide. Additionally, because you’re leaving the whole recipe together in the bottle, all of the ingredients will be melded together. Therefore, there isn’t a need to stir or shake after pouring.

Recipes to Try

For the following recipes of batched cocktails, opt for higher proof base spirits where possible. For example a gin like Sipsmith VJOP or your favorite navy strength gin would be a good option. And for whiskey, consider something bonded.

Freezer Martini

-3.5 parts gin
-1 part vermouth
-1.5 parts water

Optionally add in 1 or 2 drops of orange bitters per cocktail into the mix. When you’re ready for a drink, garnish with your choice of lemon or olive.

Freezer Negroni

-1.5 parts gin
-1.5 parts sweet vermouth
-1.5 parts Campari
-1.5 parts water

Garnish with a fresh orange twist.

Freezer Boulevardier

-1.5 parts bourbon
-1.5 parts sweet vermouth
-1.5 parts Campari
-1.5 parts water

Garnish with a fresh orange twist.

Freezer Manhattan

-3 parts rye whiskey
-1.5 parts sweet vermouth
-1.5 parts water
-12 dashes Angostura bitters

Dash the Angostura into a measuring cup or jigger to pour into a bottle. Garnish with a cocktail cherry or fresh lemon twist.

Once you make the switch batched cocktails, you’ll always find yourself with a bottle in the freezer. Feel free to use these merely as a starting point and to use your own preferred ratios when batching. Keep in mind, if you tweak too far in the direction of more water or more low-ABV ingredients such as vermouth, you run the risk of an inadvertent slushy.

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