Batched drinks used to hold a place in high-society functions. The first cocktails were actually big bowls of punch, and pitchers of martinis were a mainstay in parties on Mad Men, a show famed for its realistic portrayals of the era. When I was a kid, sherbet punch was a mainstay of every function held in an elementary school gymnasium. But somewhere in between the dissolution of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and my adulthood, punch lost its way.
These days, batched cocktails look a bit different than the punches of the past—the trendiest drinks of the moment are often batched at your favorite bars. How else would you expect bartenders to survive the espresso martini boom? Establishments like LA’s Good Times at Davey Wayne’s have gone so far as to offer Old Fashioneds on tap. And while you can’t keg up cocktails on your own, you can create batched cocktails that are both festive and easy to serve. Here are our recs.
Espresso Martinis (serves 11)
-1 bottle cold brew, 11 oz.
-22 oz. vodka
-5.5 oz. Kahlua
-5.5 oz. simple syrup
-Espresso beans for garnish
The best part of an espresso martini is the foam that gets frothed up during the shaking phase. To get that lovely layer of foam, pre-mix the essentials of the cocktail, then let guests shake up their own glasses.
Combine all liquid ingredients in a pitcher. When you’re ready to serve a glass, add three jiggers of the liquid into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously, strain and serve. Garnish with an espresso bean for that restaurant feel.
Mezcal Negronis (can scale to any serving size)
-1 part mezcal
-1 part Campari
-1 part sweet vermouth
-Orange twists for garnish
We all know about the negroni sbagliato at this point, but the mezcal Negroni variant brings a smokey fireside vibe to the beverage. What’s not to love about the bitterness of a Negroni paired with the rich smokiness of a good mezcal?
This one is super easy. You’ll fill one-third of the container you’re using with mezcal, a third with Campari, and a third with sweet vermouth. Keep the pitcher the fridge, as the drink is supposed to be served neat and cold. A single serving size is two jiggers, but if you want to drink this by the flagon at whatever Yule festival you’re attending, I won’t stop you.
Sparkling Cider Chai Mocktail (serves 10)
-20 oz. Martinelli’s apple juice
-5 oz. chai tea concentrate
-15 oz. seltzer
-4 dashes tiki bitters
-Cinnamon sticks to garnish
The most important part of this drink is making sure you get chai concentrate or chai syrup and not chai latte concentrate. We don’t want any milk or dairy substitutes in this drink, which is kind of giving sparking virgin Old Fashioned.
Stir the Martinelli’s and chai together, add the bitters dashes to taste. Pour in your serving container of choice, over ice, and top with seltzer. You can use cinnamon sticks as a stir in each cup, should the mixture separate while you’re partying.
Boxing Day Mulled Wine Spritzer (serves 10)
-20 oz. mulled wine
-10 oz. aperitivo
-5 oz. lemon juice
This is a trick for getting rid of leftover wine that you mulled for a holiday party. You put some Franzia on the stovetop with cloves and orange and sugar, accidentally let it cook down to somewhere between wine and syrup, and now what? This cocktail is what.
Mix your wine with an aperitivo of your choice. I used Select Aperitivo, but Aperol would work as well—floral and citrus notes tend to work well. Add lemon juice and stir. Keep this pitcher next to glasses and seltzer, and guests can adjust the strength of their post-holiday brunch cocktail.