The Outdoors Are Calling — Better Bring Cocktails.
Something about the crisp fall air and autumn colors makes me crave cocktails. (Well, to be honest, most weather makes me crave cocktails.) This time of year, people are out getting their last-minute camping trips in, going on hunting excursions, and tailgating for their favorite teams. What better time than now to share a few cocktail tips and recipes for batching cocktails you can take along on your fall adventures?
What is Batching?
Batching is the act of making lots of drinks at once for the purpose of serving them later or saving time during a busy bar service. Batching is a fine art that combines math you learned in middle school with punch making and big containers. There are a few keys to batching correctly:
You want to start with a single cocktail recipe; this recipe will give you your end flavor and per-drink volume. Say we are making a batch of Negronis. A Negroni is made with 1 ounce of gin, 1 ounce of vermouth, and 1 ounce of Campari. That 3-ounce drink is usually then stirred with ice, which provides a bit of dilution when the ice melts. So when we build this drink, we need to factor the dilution into the batch. We would combine the ingredients, stir it as usual, and then measure in the amount of water that would typically be added by the stir or dilution. As a general rule, I use ½ ounce of water per drink for stirred drinks, or ¾ ounce for shaken cocktails. So according to that math, our single Negroni recipe after dilution has a total volume of 3½ ounces.
Next, we need to multiply that single 3½-ounce cocktail by the total number of cocktails needed, for ourselves and any guests drinking with us. So if I have 10 people coming over, and I know they will be drinking two drinks each, that’s 20 cocktails total. So we then multiply each ingredient in our recipe by 20: 20 ounces of gin, 20 ounces of vermouth, 20 ounces of Campari, and 10 ounces of water, for a total of 70 ounces. The multiplied recipe will give you the volume needed, as if you have individually stirred each cocktail served. So all you have to do is pour your batch over ice. The final volume of your batch should be the volume of the single cocktail multiplied by your goal drink number. So in this case, your goal is to make 70 ounces of delicious Negronis.
Always try your batch; some concoctions taste better as a single cocktail, so a few tweaks here and there are sometimes needed. Maybe you try your batched Negroni, and it’s way too strong — try adding a little bit of water. Always remember to start small when adding ingredients; it’s much easier to add than to take away. When testing your drinks, always make sure you use clean straws or spoons so as not to contaminate your batch with any germs.
Finally, I leave you with a few seasonal recipes for fall (below my bio) to try out your new batching skills. Remember to add your dilution water for each recipe when batching, and don’t forget to test the batch before serving to make sure it’s perfect for you and your guests. Happy batching!
Michael C. Moberly is a spirits educator and creative consultant. His 14 years in the industry have been spent learning, loving, and imbibing with some of its best minds, both locally and nationally. He also is good at wearing hats.
Gobble Gobble Old Fashioned
2 ounces Frey Ranch bourbon
¼ ounce Cannella Cinnamon Cordial
½ ounce canned cranberry sauce
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 pinch nutmeg, for garnish
In mixing glass, combine bourbon, cinnamon cordial, and cranberry sauce, and stir (without ice) to dissolve cranberry sauce. Add ice and stir until chilled. Pour into glass over ice and garnish with nutmeg.
1 ounce Churchill Vineyards brandy
½ ounce bourbon
½ ounce triple sec
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce apple juice
Orange peel and cinnamon stick, for garnish
Combine brandy, triple sec, lemon juice, and apple juice in shaker, add ice, then shake. Pour into glass over ice and garnish with orange peel and cinnamon stick.