Scaling Cocktails at home for Christmas.
There’s enough to be worrying about this Christmas, so drinks at home should and can be the last of them. Beers, wine and bubbly are all well and good but serving up a well-made cocktail to your friends and family is guaranteed to get you the kudos you deserve.
No matter what your tipple of choice is on nights out, scaling them up can be pretty straightforward. You spend all that time prepping and chopping veg and basting and stuffing the turkey, so putting even a small bit of that energy into your drinks this year can make all the difference. Let’s face it, you don’t want to be stood in the kitchen all night stirring or shaking until your arms fall off. Batching cocktails makes serving drinks quick and easy as well as making sure that every drink you pour out is going to be the same as the last, delicious. There are loads of online resources for cocktails, with Difford’s Guide being one of my personal go-tos for classic recipes.
You’ll need to clear some room in the fridge and give a few of those empty wine bottles you’ve been meaning to drop to the glass recycle a rinse and dry. A measuring jug should do just fine for building your batch and you can’t go wrong with a mesh strainer for catching any unwanted bits of extra pulp (if you’re going for a fresh juice-based cocktail) or let’s face it, dead flies that may have crept onto that bottle of vermouth that’s been sitting on the shelf since last year. Batching Is pretty simple, figure out how many drinks you want to make and multiply it out, just make sure you’ve enough bottles to put it into when it’s done.
Depending on what booze you plan on using and how much fresh produce you put in, the concoction you make should last in the fridge for minimum: a few days & maximum: as long as you want it to. The alcohol content plays a big part here in preserving your cocktail. If you go with a booze-led Old Fashioned for example, that bad boy may even outlive you, but there’s a good chance it won’t make it past St. Stephen’s Day. A fresher fruit forward cocktail like a Pornstar Martini should keep for a couple of days at best. When making sours or anything that involves lime/lemon/orange juice a good tip is to balance out the citrus with honey rather than sugar. Honey is a preservative in itself and can elevate drinks by bringing in a longer lasting, heavier taste on your palate. Another little note is to be careful with bitters, sometimes scaling up can really affect the flavour so good practice is to add in the bitters afterwards as you’re serving.
For your batch, I’d suggest starting simple or taking a classic cocktail such as a Negroni and putting your own festive spin on it. An easy way to bring in different flavours is by infusing your base spirit with fruit or spices. So take a bottle of your chosen poison and leave some cranberries and cinnamon in for a day and then strain out, boom you’ve got a Christmas spirit to play with. If that sounds like too much effort, there are plenty of delicious syrups, liqueurs and spirits out there that can make your life easier. Here are 2 drinks I’ll be serving up at mine this year:
Batched and chilled in the fridge. Served over ice with an orange peel.
1 1/2 part Irish Whiskey
1/2 part Green Chartreuse
1 part O’Maro Irish Amaro
1/3 part water
Batched and chilled in the fridge. Served straight up with a cocktail cherry.