Batch Whisky Cocktails for Your Next Club Meeting

If you’re looking to incorporate cocktails into your regular whisky club meetings or special events, batching large-format drinks takes the hassle out of hosting. “I wholeheartedly believe in batching shelf-stable ingredients ahead of time,” says Neal Bodenheimer, owner of the New Orleans bars Cure and Cane & Table, and co-chair of Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. “Classic punch is the ultimate large-scale batch cocktail. David Wondrich’s book Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl is a must-have. My personal favorite flavor combinations are peach bitters with bourbon, chamomile with scotch, and black tea with rye.”

Whether you’re creating an aperitif drink to prepare the palate before a tasting or just looking to add a bit of fun to your next club meeting, keep these tips from Bodenheimer in mind as you decide on a cocktail or two to offer. Bodenheimer recommends having a measuring cup, large barspoon, and funnel for rebottling handy.

“Measure twice, cut once:” This old saying in carpentry means double-check before you execute, because you can’t go back and fix it. For batching, this means measure twice and mix once—not all measuring cups are created equal.

Quality matters: Only use ingredients that you would drink on their own. Better ingredients make better cocktails!

Grate your own spices: The potency of ground spices fades as they sit on grocery and pantry shelves. You want the spice to be fresh, strong, and aromatic. Grating fresh whole spices is the only way to ensure that.

Consider your dilution levels: When you shake or stir a cocktail with ice, it adds dilution (water) and chill (the by-product of the reaction of ice turning into water). When batching, add an appropriate amount of water—generally 20%-25%—then refrigerate or chill your batch. Serve each drink over fresh ice (or straight into the glass) because it will already have the correct dilution.

Save the citrus and bitters for last: It’s fine to mix most ingredients ahead of time, except for any citrus or bitters. Don’t add either until serving—citrus will turn if left out too long and bitters can expand.

Cocktails by the Bottle

Each of these cocktails for a crowd is based on a standard 750 ml bottle of whisky, to make mixing easy. After combining the ingredients, stir and chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. —Neal Bodenheimer

Boulevardier

Serves 15 (3 oz. servings)

Ingredients

  • 750 ml bourbon
  • 9½ oz. Cinzano 1757 Rosso sweet vermouth
  • 9½ oz. Campari aperitif
  • 11 oz. spring water

Serve in rocks or cocktail glasses. Garnish each serving with an orange twist.

Among Dreams

Serves 30 (3 oz. servings)

Ingredients

  • 750 ml rye
  • 750 ml Green Chartreuse liqueur
  • 3 liters Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth
  • 1 liter spring water

Serve in rocks or cocktail glasses. Garnish each serving with 1 dash each Angostura bitters and tiki bitters.

Chamomile Malt Punch

Serves 25 (3 oz. servings)

Ingredients

  • Lemon oleo-saccharum: peels of 4 large lemons plus 1 cup white sugar, combined and covered for one day.
  • 750 ml blended malt scotch, such as Monkey Shoulder
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 5 cups chilled chamomile tea
  • 8 dashes Angostura bitters

Serve in a punch bowl, garnished with lemon slices and chamomile flowers.

Howitzer Punch

Serves 25 (3 oz. servings)

Ingredients

  • Lemon oleo-saccharum: peels of 4 large lemons plus 1 cup white sugar, combined and covered for one day.
  • 750 ml bourbon
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 2 cups spring water

Before Serving, add

  • 750 ml sparkling wine
  • Peach bitters, to taste

Serve in a punch bowl.

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