Introducing Batch Cocktails: A Serious Eater’s Guide to Drinks for a Crowd
Serious Eats’ outstanding cocktail recipes, guides, and articles would be nothing without the work of our former managing editor, and founding drinks editor, Maggie Hoffman. During her impressive tenure at the site, she built one of the internet’s best beverage resources. Since leaving Serious Eats, she’s continued to cover cocktails, both here at Serious Eats and at other outlets, and has found the time to write not one but two books.
Her latest is Batch Cocktails: Make-Ahead Pitcher Drinks for Every Occasion, a beautiful book that’s packed with great recipes and guides to making large-format cocktails at home. The book pulls together 65 creative cocktails from many of the country’s top bartenders, organized by flavor profile, each of them carefully designed to scale up perfectly. (In case you didn’t know, there’s a little more to making batched cocktails than simply multiplying the quantity of booze by your desired number of drinks.)
Why make cocktails in big batches for a party? The most important reason is that doing so means you won’t be fiddling with a cocktail shaker all night, making drinks to order for your guests when you should be talking to them—perhaps with a drink in your hand, too. Beyond that, batching a drink gives you total control over how it tastes and the temperature at which it’s served.
Maggie has generously shared with us three new recipes from her book to get you started, all of them described below and linked to at the top and bottom of this page. For dozens more ideas, make sure to pick up your own copy of Batch Cocktails. Her efforts have already influenced us at Serious Eats HQ, where some big bowls and pitchers of perfectly tuned drinks may or may not have graced an after-work social hour or two…hard to remember, to be honest.
The Ratterwick Punch
Created by Shannon Tebay Sidle of New York City’s Death & Co., this lightly bitter, utterly refreshing punch layers Aperol with similarly tinged pink grapefruit, for a drink that’s as vivid to look at as it is to taste. A nice dose of gin adds some herbal notes, while a finishing splash of sparkling wine gives every glass an effervescent fizz.
The Three-Piece Suit
This cocktail, created by Steven Huddleston of Parcel 32 in Charleston, South Carolina, couldn’t be easier. Simply combine reposado tequila, with its grassy and vanilla flavors, and oloroso sherry, which rounds it all out with deeper caramel and aged-wine notes. A little simple syrup softens the edges and brings the drink into gentle focus.
A slightly more involved drink, but one that can still be made almost entirely in advance, L’Aventura stars Amaro Montenegro, which is infused with aromatics like saffron and orange peel. Blanc vermouth tames the amaro’s intensity, while vodka intensifies the cocktail’s alcoholic kick without adding any overt flavor of its own. To add even more layers of flavor, the creator of the drink—Daniel Osborne of Bullard and Abigail Hall in Portland, Oregon—also works in a fragrant mint-infused tea syrup, which lends a freshness as well as some tannic depth. Freshly squeezed lime juice, poured in shortly before serving, brightens the whole thing up.
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