Party Like It's 2016: Batchable cocktails

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Batching cocktails is Rebecca Monday's saving grace at a party. "My friends and family always hope I will make delicious drinks for everyone," says the Curio bar manager, who loves bringing bottles of pre-made Manhattan, negroni or old-fashioned with her to gatherings. "So I don't get stuck behind a bar the whole time, batching cocktails and making punches is my key ingredient to a successful holiday event." Here, Monday and local cocktail consultant Nicolene Schwartz share a few party-perfect, make-ahead cocktails to ensure lively libations and a worry-free host.

Philadelphia Fish House Punch (pictured)

Courtesy Rebecca Monday of Curio

1 1/2 cups superfine sugar

2 quarts water

1 quart lemon juice

2 quarts dark rum

1 quart cognac

4 ounces peach brandy

Festive Punch

Courtesy Nicolene Schwartz

12 ounces vodka

8 ounces pomegranate-cranberry syrup*

3 ounces lemon juice

3 ounces lime juice

Rosemary sprig for garnish

*For the syrup, combine 1 cup 100-percent cranberry juice with 1 cup pomegranate juice and 2 cups sugar. Heat in a saucepan until sugar is fully dissolved. Cool before mixing.

Batch Manhattan

Courtesy Nicolene Schwartz

24 ounces rye whiskey (like Old Overholt or Bulleit)

12 ounces sweet vermouth (Dolin or Carpano Antica)

About 30 dashes chocolate bitters

Want to batch the perfect cocktail? Here's how to pull it off like a pro with advice from Monday and Schwartz.

Do the math: Nearly any cocktail can be made in a large batch, Monday says. All it takes is simple math: "Just multiply each ingredient by the amount of servings you are looking to make," she says. If converting ounces to cups gets confusing, try portioning in ratios. For example, if a recipe is 2 ounces bourbon, 1 ounce lemon juice and 1 ounce honey syrup, then you have a 2:1:1 ratio and can use any measuring device you prefer, she says.

Pick a vessel:"Buying glass bottles with swing tops is a great way to store your batched cocktails. Also, creating custom labels adds a creative twist to the event," Monday says.

On bar setup: "I like to set up the bar so that the batch cocktails are there, but I also include a couple recipe cards. I'll put out a vodka, a bourbon and a gin and some little cards [to help guide guests]," Schwartz says.

On making it ahead: If you're batching ahead of time, added citrus will separate out, Schwartz explains. The easy fix: put the drink in a resealable bottle with a card that says, "Shake before you pour."

On the ice bucket: Put ice in a colander and set that inside a metal bowl, Schwartz suggests. That'll keep ice cubes from getting waterlogged.

On garnishes: "I like to do some fun garnishes," Schwartz says. "It's low-impact on the host, but fun for guests." Set out candied ginger for Moscow mules, or dried cranberries strung on a toothpick to pair with a cranberry holiday punch. Monday agrees: "Adding garnishes like citrus wheels, cinnamon sticks, star anise pods, cranberries and rosemary will not only add flavor, but make your punch bowl look wonderful."

On bubbles: "Always add anything carbonated right before serving to your punch," Monday says.

Pressed for time? Monday suggests grabbing a bottle of Watershed Distillery's bottled Old Fashioned. "That is so delicious and affordable," she says. "Just pour over ice and garnish with an orange peel. Done and done!"

Bonus recipe!

Creatingoleo saccharum: "The process involves peeling citrus and gently muddling it into superfine sugar in a sealed zip lock bag," Monday says. Let the concoction rest at room temperature for 4 hours, or overnight, until the sugar is soaked in lemon oil. "The citrus oils will melt the sugar, creating a sweet aromatic base to your punch. When punch is ready to assemble, pour contents of the oleo saccharin into the punch bowl and add other ingredients."