In the Before Times, my default end-of-day drink was always a generous pour whiskey—neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of water. And if my afternoon was particularly grueling or uninspired, I’d pour myself a good Cognac—paired with a small square of dark chocolate. Simple. Easy. Uncomplicated.
But all that changed ever since the coronavirus lockdown started in March. These days, a lot of cocktail-making has been happening in our household: I’ve been drinking spicy margaritas, G&Ts, mojitos, and whatever else my partner concocts for me. In my mind, it’s an excellent way to break the monotony of days that seem to blend together. And it truly has been one of the few things keeping us sane throughout the bizarre Twilight Zone world of 2020.
When you’re cooking (and eating) every single meal at home, making cocktails just adds to the dirty dish pile. Beyond that, you’re constantly rummaging for tools: Shakers, jiggers, muddlers, strainers, stirrers. One solution: Batch your cocktails and stick them in the fridge. That way, you can minimize prep and cleanup time. It’s a win-win all around.
Here, nineteen spirits professionals talk about how they batch their favorite cocktails—all of which are easy and require no more than five ingredients.
NO ME OLVIDES (FORGET ME NOT)
“One of my favorite distillates are Agave spirits. A 100-percent agave tequila, like Don Julio, mixed with fresh juices is a great summer quencher. I made this cocktail inspired by the petite flowers called No Me Olvides (Forget Me Not) that bloom in the summertime. At the same time, I love the name because it’s hard to forget a good drink! This cocktail is bright, refreshing, fruit forward, and a little dry with amazing cooked agave notes. I really enjoy making this drink at home for its simplicity, seasonality and amazing flavor. It pairs well with spicy food: Barbecue, or chicken and beef tacos—and guacamole. This recipe might require a little bit of squeezing and juicing, but the use of fresh ingredients will make a better cocktail. You will taste the difference! ¡Salud!” —Julio Xoxocotla, bartender at the Wayland
Ingredients (17 Servings):
- 750 ml. bottle of Tequila Don Julio Blanco
- 12 oz. watermelon juice
- 8.5 oz. fresh lime juice
- 7 oz. fresh frapefruit juice
- 7 oz. agave syrup (1:1)
Method: In a large pitcher or bowl combine Tequila Don Julio Blanco, watermelon juice, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and agave syrup. Stir well. To store, pour contents into Mason jars or any other clean glass container. This mix could last up to three to four days refrigerated. Suggestion: If you freeze it, you’ll be getting a slushy-like delicious drink. This is also a perfect mocktail recipe. Instead of tequila add your favorite seltzer or sparkling water to 2 oz. of the mix. (This is a large format recipe. It yields approximately 17 cocktails.)
To Make Agave Syrup (1:1): Mix 3.5 oz. agave nectar (amber) to 3.5 oz. of warm water. Stir until fully dissolved and cool down before mixing it with juices.
THE CITADELLE RESERVE GIN 50/50
“The 50/50 Martini with Citadelle Reserve Gin—created by Citadelle—might be my favorite cocktail of all time. It’s simple yet complex, pairs extremely well with food, and keeps great in the freezer for several days. The first sip is always reminiscent of my initial martini experience during a family vacation in Boston when my father took me to the bar at the Fairmont Hotel. He ordered us two gin martinis which were so big they came with a sidecar packed in crushed ice. Several times the bartender glided past with her glass stir stick and expertly spun everyone’s sidecar. All the martini drinkers looked up, had a moment together, and then went back to their conversations. My father smiled and winked at me. I was instantly and forever hooked.” —Michael Goldman, on-premise manager at Maison Ferrand
- 1 part Citadelle Réserve Gin
- 1 part dry vermouth
- 1 part water
- 1 dash orange bitters
- Lemon peel garnish
Batching Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Add equal parts Citadelle Gin Reserve, dry vermouth, and water to a glass vessel (Mason jar works) and chill in the freezer. Keeps in the freezer for several days.
Preparation: In a chilled martini glass, add the batched liquid and just before serving, add the orange bitters and lemon peel garnish.
LAS BRISAS HOUSE MARGARITA
“Who doesn’t love a margarita? With the summer heat coming on strong, the pure flavors of a simple three-ingredient margarita will make you think you’re on vacation even if you’re frolicking around in a kiddie pool in your backyard.” —Michael Gaines, director of food and beverage development at Xperience Restaurant Group
Ingredients (Six Servings):
- 14 oz. Pueblo Viejo Silver Tequila
- 0.7 oz. lime juice
- 3.5 oz. agave syrup (1.75 oz. agave to 1.75 oz. water)
Method: Combine ingredients and pour over ice. Refrigerate and enjoy for up to three days.
“I love the Grayhound because of its healthy inclusion of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. You can batch it and keep in the refrigerator for several days at a time. We like to use a rosemary sprig cut fresh from Tavern’s kitchen garden as a signature garnish to the drink. The fresh rosemary gives the drink an herbaceous scent and summer freshness.” —Marsha Glazer, owner at GrayBarns
- 14 oz. vodka of your choosing (we like to use Kettle One)
- 18 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- Rosemary for garnish
Method: Combine, stir, and serve. For batching, try to use a 32-ounce swing-top glass bottle for batching (fairly close to the same size as a liter bottle). We like to use glass as it is reusable.
“One of my all-time favorite flavor combinations of lime, pineapple, and cinnamon shine through in this cocktail that turns a normal margarita into a refreshing summertime sipper. This cocktail really hits the spot on those warmer days.” —Chris Chernock, beverage director at Broken Spanish, Los Angeles
For a Single Cocktail:
- 0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
- 0.5 oz. fresh pineapple juice
- 1.5 oz. serrano-infused tequila
- 0.5 oz. agave syrup
- Grated cinnamon
For a Large Batch:
- 1 bottle tequila blanco infused with 2 serranos (sliced) for 2 hours
- 8 oz. fresh lime juice
- 8 oz. agave syrup (agave nectar cut with water 2:1)
- 8 oz. fresh pineapple juice
- Grate fresh cinnamon over finished cocktail
Method: Combine ingredients and stir well before serving.
CRANBERRY LEMONADE REFRESHER
“This cocktail is like a dreamy pink lemonade from your childhood but with a grownup spirit. It’s the perfect cocktail for batching because it comes together easily and will keep for several days in the fridge. When ready to serve, just garnish with lemon slices and fresh herbs. It reminds me of barefoot summers and getting a cool drink from a neighbor’s lemonade stand. If you want to make it kid friendly, just leave out the vodka.” —Kim Daniels, professional food photographer, recipe developer, and owner of Every Day Gourmet in Camden, SC
- 3 oz. Natalie’s Natural Lemonade
- 1.5 oz. cranberry juice
- 1 oz. vodka
- 0.5 oz. simple syrup
- Squeeze of fresh lime juice
- Lemon slice, for garnish
- Club soda (optional)
- Fresh herbs, for garnish (optional)
Method: Scale up measurements to batch. In a cocktail shaker combine Natalie’s Natural Lemonade, cranberry juice, vodka, simple syrup, and lime juice. Add ice. Shake well. Strain mixture into a chilled rocks glass. Top with a splash of club soda if desired. Garnish with a lemon slice and fresh herbs. Makes one cocktail.
THE KILBEGGAN COLD BREW
“A piping hot Irish coffee has been my go-to cocktail since quarantine began back in March, when we were still in the depths of Chicago winter and in need of a comforting warm cocktail. Now that summer is here and temperatures are warming up, I’ve switched to this refreshing cold brew version made with Kilbeggan Original Irish Whiskey. The fruity notes in the whiskey stand up beautifully in the cold coffee. I always make a batch while making my regular cold brew so when I’m ready for something a little stronger, all I have to do is add freshly whipped cream and a touch of nutmeg and I’m ready to go.” —Michael Egan, U.S. brand ambassador at Kilbeggan Distilling Co.
- 1.5 parts Kilbeggan Original Irish Whiskey
- 0.5 parts simple syrup
- 3 parts Cold Brew
Pre-Batching Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Combine all ingredients in a Mason jar. The Mason jar should be filled to the top in order to keep out as much air as possible. Refrigerate. Concoction will last for three to five days.
Preparation: Remove mixture from fridge, pour into a glass with ice (if desired). Top with a drizzle of fresh cream and a shake of nutmeg.
“Fools Gold is the ideal refreshing cocktail made perfect for enjoying a summer afternoon or evening outside. Whether spending time in the garden or kicking back on your patio, the cocktail’s lavender flavors stimulate relaxation while also bringing great floral notes to a classically sour cocktail. When made in a 16-ounce Mason jar, Fools Gold will yield four drinks and can be kept in the fridge for three to four days to be enjoyed wherever and whenever. This simple three ingredient libation is a quick and easy recipe that all home cocktail enthusiasts enjoy this season.” —Steve Walton, beverage director at High West Distillery
Ingredients (Four Servings):
- 6 oz. High West American Prairie Bourbon
- 2 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 2 oz. lavender honey (Available at most grocery stores. Or regular honey works too!)
- Lavender buds, for garnish
Method: Add all ingredients into a 16-ounce Mason jar. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass of your choice. Garnish with a sprinkle of lavender buds.
NICE & EASY
“One of the main reasons I like this cocktail (other than it being delicious) is that it doesn’t have too many ingredients. It’s quick, delicious, and you do most of the work ahead of time. This batch makes five cocktails ready to go whenever you feel like having one.” —Elmer Mejicanos, Bar Manager at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco
Ingredients (Five Servings):
- 10 oz. El Tesoro blanco tequila
- 5 oz. sweet vermouth
- 10 strawberries cut in half
- 1 whole lemon cut into quarters
- 1 rosemary sprig
Method: Add all ingredients into a large container and let it rest covered in the refrigerator for two days. Strain out all fruit and herbs on day two. In a Collins glass add 2 ounces of the batch, fill glass with ice, and stir quickly. Top with sparkling water or tonic water, if available. Garnish with fruit or flower of your choice, or enjoy as is! (Nobody can judge your cocktail presentation at home.)
“This cocktail is super easy to make with spirits that are easily available at your local market or nearby liquor store. There is no need for equipment—all you need to do is mix the same portion of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Add a few drops of bitters, mix, and keep in the freezer for two to three hours. Then it’s ready to drink! Add ice, or enjoy as is.” —Chetan Gangan, mixologist at ROOH, San Francisco
- 1 oz. gin
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth (such as Cocchi Barolo Chinato)
- 3 dashes Hella Bitters smoked chili bitters
Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Combine and mix all ingredients together in a large container and store in the fridge for up to two to three hours prior to serving.
“The Argonaut Gold Rush is a simple and beautiful idea: The tart lemon is balanced by sweet and earthy honey—then rounded out with Argonaut Fat Thumb. I personally like this for a batched cocktail during these summer months, it can turn an un-airconditioned apartment into a mini vacation.” —Briggs Brown, bartender at The Varnish, Los Angeles
- 2 oz. Argonaut Fat Thumb Brandy
- 0.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 0.75 oz. honey syrup
Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Measure out all ingredients in a glass and stir to combine.
COLD BREWED BOULEVARDIER
“Who doesn’t enjoy some kick and mixing it up in their daily routine, especially now? Try pairing your bourbon with a shot of espresso or a splash leftover from your morning coffee. Why? Due to the higher rye content, Russell’s Reserve has a spicy component in their bourbon that leaves a pleasant tail on the palate, which pairs perfectly with something strong like a well-roasted coffee bean. The smell alone can be a burst of energy which I know we all need.” —Lucinda Sterling, managing partner and beverage director at Middle Branch, New York City
- 1 oz. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old Bourbon
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 oz. Braulio Amaro or other amari
- 0.25 oz. coffee
Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Mix all ingredients together. Pour over ice into a rocks glass. Serve with a twist of orange. To make large batch: multiple each ingredient by 4 and combine and store in a large container. Serve one cocktail at a time.
REBELLIOUS RED SANGRIA
“Apothic’s Rebellious Red Sangria allows you to experiment with different flavor combinations and explore seasonal flavors year-round. The base recipe is delicious on its own, but you can also swap out the traditional brandy for a flavored version, like E&J Peach. When paired with the citrus-forward flavor of Lemon Lime Soda, it offers you the ability to complement the batch with seasonal fruits and herbs. I especially like using this formula for outdoor summer evenings around a fire. For the perfect campfire sipper, swap out the traditional brandy for E&J Vanilla, top with Ginger Beer, and complement the batch with brandied cherries and cinnamon sticks.” —Christopher Chamberlain, national beverage development manager at E. & J. Gallo Winery
- 1 bottle of Apothic Red
- ¼ cup brandy
- Lemon lime soda or ginger ale or ginger beer
- 5 blood oranges and plums, sliced
- 1 pomegranate, seeded
Method: Mix ingredients in a large pitcher, stir and pour over ice.
“While home during our COVID-19 closure, I have been embracing aperitivo hour as the online business day winds down, but it’s not quite time to make dinner. While I’ve been happy to serve folks their early evening cocktails for year, it’s rare I get that pleasure. So I’ve been keeping a stock of ‘Golden Hour Batch,’ which is inspired by the negroni (gin, sweet vermouth, Campari) but lower proof. What I love about this is that it’s delicious on its own, but will keep in the fridge for a month—if it lasted that long. But it’s suited for an easy creative flex, like adding club soda or Prosecco on top. Right now it’s Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit that I’m splashing on top. So it can be seasoned or unseasoned, as I’ve been asking myself at Aperitivo Hour for one!” —Meaghan Dorman, bar director at Raines Law Room and Dear Irving, New York City
Ingredients (Three Servings):
- 6 oz. Cocchi Torino
- 3 oz. Fords Gin (or other London Dry)
- 3 oz. Campari
Method: Combine ingredients in a 12-ounce Mason jar. Stir or gently shake jar to combine. Keep sealed in fridge and serve over ice. Optional garnish of orange or grapefruit slice. Feel free to “season” with prosecco.
STONED IN SOLITUDE
“What originally made me fall in love with the spirits industry were the stories behind every bottle—because those stories represented unique individuals, most often from a long family lineage. I try to be mindful when creating cocktails to not just make something that tastes great but to also incorporate spirits from all over the world, blending in perfect marriage to tell a story in your glass (Mexico, France, Trinidad and Tobago in this case). This cocktail is a bit on the strong side because, let’s face it, we all could use a stiff drink right now. Its taste is lighter from the various fruit notes, in hopes to lift your spirits to continue to fight for brighter days. Each ingredient is available at most liquor stores and easy to batch at home. The batch will even keep in your fridge for up to a couple weeks! That way when the time comes, you just need to grab a book and kick your feet up, you already have a cocktail waiting for you.” —Megan Radke, bartender at Canon, Seattle
- 2 parts El Tesoro Blanco Tequila
- 1.5 parts Lillet Blac
- 0.25 parts apricot liqueur
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Orange peel, for garnish
Pre-Batching Method: Combine the El Tesoro Blanco, Lillet, and apricot liqueur into whichever airtight vessel you’ll be storing in the fridge. I recommend doing the math ahead of time for how many cocktails you want to keep batched, it’ll last in the fridge for a couple weeks at the very least. Scale up measurements to batch.
Preparation: Pour 3.75 oz. of the batched cocktail and add 3 dashes of bitters. And you can either stir over ice or strain into a coupe. (I prefer the coupe to avoid over-diluting while I sip on it for a while.) Or if you’re looking for something even simpler, go ahead and just toss in a few ice cubes, give it a couple swirls with a spoon and then let nature do the work for you. Express an orange peel into your drink and you’re all set!
SEAGRAM’S SWEET TEA ARNOLD PALMER
“The Seagram’s Sweet Tea Vodka Arnold Palmer is a perfect cocktail for batching to keep things simple when you’re looking to unwind. After a hard day, when you don’t want to spend time looking for ingredients and mixing up cocktails, it’s so much better to have a few of these batched in the fridge ready to go, especially during the warmer months. Consider using store-bought lemonade to make this a balanced, simple two-ingredient cocktail.” —Natalie Migliarini, founder at Beautiful Booze
- 2 oz. Seagram’s Sweet Tea Vodka
- 4 oz. lemonade
- Garnish with mint and lemons
Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Combine Seagram’s Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade over ice in a highball glass. Stir then garnish with mint and lemon.
“Quarantine life has allowed me to pay more attention to indoor gardening. I have a flourishing basil plant in my AeroGarden that needs constant room for growth. Plucking the fresh basil leaves sends the phenols around the room, and reminds me of eating at my favorite Italian restaurants. The basil is nicely complemented by the earthy umami notes of Iichiko Saiten and Fever-Tree Pink Grapefruit’s floral and citrus complete the experience. The cocktail can be refrigerated and consumed well into the fifth day and can be made stronger by adding more of the main alcoholic ingredient, or boosting it with an ounce of another light spirit, because Iichiko mixes well with gin, vodka, and tequila.” —Lucinda Sterling, proprietor at Middle Branch and Seaborne, New York City
- 1.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz. agave syrup (1:1 agave nectar to water)
- 10–12 fresh basil leaves
- 4 oz. Iichiko Saiten Shochu
- 4 oz. Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit
Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Combine ingredients in a 12-ounce Mason jar and let steep for one to seven days. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh cracked pink peppercorns and a fresh basil leaf.
EL MOMENTO #1 (BOOZY VERSION) and EL MOMENTO #2 (REFRESHING VERSION)
“If this quarantine has revealed anything to me, it’s that humans are fickle creatures. It’s part of the reason we can’t seem to get comfortable in our favorite chairs these days. The same thing happens with my drinks these days: I don’t know if I want something big and boozy—or something refreshing and light. I fight this small battle on a weekly basis and I don’t want to fuss over my bar stock. This cocktail was my solution. With a few bottle acquisitions and a bit of prep, you can have a drink that will be there, even when you can’t make up your mind. It’s about what feels right in the moment. El Momento #1 is the bold, boozy tequila old fashioned you’ve been craving nightly as we enter this long summer. Vibrant El Tesoro tequila, spicy ginger, and a touch of cherry give you a fantastic uplifting sipper for those days when only tequila will give you the kick you need. All you need to do is pour it over some ice and garnish with a lemon peel. El Momento No. 2 is where the road forks: When you need a sip for those long, languid days, look no further. It begins as our pre-batch, but the addition of bubbly buddy will bring a bit more sunshine into your life. Pour some of our prebatch over some ice and top with Stiegel Radler for a citrusy kick. (For a drier experience soda water and a squeeze of lime works great here too.)” —Alejandro de la Parra, bar manager at Teardrop Lounge, Portland, Oregon
Ingredients (Eight Servings):
- 12 parts El Tesoro Reposado Tequila
- 3 parts ginger liqueur
- 1.5 parts Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
- 6 dashes of Angostura bitters
Pre-Batching Method: Scale up measurements to batch. Add all ingredients to a Mason jar or other airtight container. Shelf stable indefinitely. Makes approximately 8 drinks.
Preparation for El Momento #1: Pour 2 ounces of prebatch over a large ice cube. Stir and garnish with a lemon peel.
Preparation for El Momento #2: Pour 1.5 ounces of prebatch into a tumbler over some small ice cubes. Top with a lemon Stiegel Radler (or soda water with a squeeze of lime). Garnish with a mint sprig.
THE GOLDEN HOUR
“I’m not so sneakily sneaking in a really fun syrup to make. It’s utilizing most of the citrus, so you’re throwing away very little during the concoction of this delicious cocktail. It’s important to me to be as sustainable as possible. This syrup will last months in your fridge but the coolest thing about it is that it adds all this amazing fresh lime and mint oil flavor that is usually so hard to maintain in a large format cocktail. A little extra effort will totally make it worth it, especially on a hot sunny day when all you have to do is go to your fridge and pull out this ready to rock, ultra-refreshing tequila quencher. I usually prefer to drink fresh citrus cocktails right away, but the sugar helps stabilize the lime juice in the oleo so it doesn’t oxidize too quickly. I have bar friends who swear by week old citrus, everybody’s tastes are different—and maybe you’re one of those people too! There is no wrong or right answer when making drinks, make them the way you like them to taste. Want more sugar? Go for it! Want less, that’s great too!” —Emily Mistell, beverage director at Hey Love, Portland, Oregon
- 1 750 ml. bottle El Tesoro Blanco Tequila
- Honey oleo syrup*
- 1 to 2 bunches of mint (pick the leaves off the mint and set aside with the lime peels. Save a handful of the full mint leaves for garnish)*
- Topo Chico
- Finishing salt (My go to is Jacobsen’s Salt Co. They’re right in my backyard and they make fun infusions that are fun to play around with.)
For the Honey Oleo Syrup:
- 10 oz. lime juice (this is roughly 9-10 limes, peel the limes before you juice and set aside in a sealable glass container, tupperware, jar, or whatever you have handy.)
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup honey
Pre-Batching Method: To make the honey oleo, combine white sugar, honey, citrus peels and mint leaves in a sealable container. Stir everything together until all white sugar is dissolved. This can sit for up to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more of the oil flavor you will have. Once the sugar is dissolved, strain the fruit out of it and set aside until ready to assemble your Golden Hour. There are no rules when it comes to the citrus peels you can put in your oleo base—throw a grapefruit or tangerine peel in! Once the honey oleo is finished, assemble everything (save for the Topo Chico and finishing salt) into a pitcher or bottle. Reuse your El Tesoro bottle or any other resealable glass container you may have in your recycling. Agitate until all ingredients are completely mixed together and put into the fridge. This can be made at least two to three days ahead of time.
Preparation: When you’re ready to serve, fill whatever glass you like with ice, pour in the premade Golden Hour with an inch or so of room from the top for Topo Chico. Garnish with a mint frond—give the frond just a little squeeze before you pop it into the drink and it will release the amazing mint aroma. Sprinkle a little bit of that finishing salt on top and enjoy!
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