On Sunday, I wrote up my agua fresca recipe while it was still fresh. My other big hits were my bottled cocktails and rum punch. I’ll get to the rum punch in my next post, but for now I want to concentrate on bottled cocktails.
Last year, when Jen and I hosted a party, I made a couple of bottled drinks–a Manhattan and a vodka martini–but I mostly shook drinks for a crowd of 25. From 2 until 10, I shook drinks. At the same time I was mixing drinks, I was manning the grill because we had 10 pounds of chicken wings to cook on the same day our oven died.
Yeah, that was a bad day.
Jen changed up her menu this year to rely less on the oven, and I switched up my cocktail menu to have more things premade. One of those was rum punch, but I again had bottled cocktails on hand. On this front, I owe a lot to Brad Ellis, from the site The Bar Mix Master Has Spoken. I know he’s not updating often these days, but he’s got a couple of great posts on planning a party and prepping bottled cocktails. He’s got a great formula for determining the ratios of spirit to mixer to water. And yes, you do want water–unless you plan to shake your premix over ice right at serving time, you won’t get any of the water that shaking over ice imparts.
My “bottles” were actually 60-oz. pitchers, so I had to scale his 25-oz. recipe up. Again, I did Manhattans, which were very popular–for the pitcher, I used Rittenhouse bonded rye and Cinzano sweet vermouth with Angostura bitters. And water, of course, to about 25-30%. The martinis this year were gin–Plymouth, to be exact, with Noilly Prat dry, a very light hand of Regan’s orange bitters, and again about 25-30% water.
I wound up shaking nothing this year and I’m not ashamed. You shouldn’t be either. Next time you have a party, make sure you’ve got some bottled drinks on hand and you’ll be able to spend more time with your guests.