The Bartender’s Guide to Batching
Hospitality is so often a go-go-go industry. This is especially true when your venue is hosting private events. At times it becomes difficult to juggle all aspects of the event while still ensuring your regular service customers are getting all that they need. It can feel as though you’ll never accomplish everything. One simple timesaving tip to help keep your front-of-the-house staff out of the dreaded “weeds” is batching cocktails.
Batching is an efficient way to make sure that in busier times, with fully booked private rooms, each and every customer receives a quality and consistent drink from the first to the last. But don’t run out and start batching every cocktail on your list because, like with all bartending traditions, there are rules behind batching cocktails.
First, Let’s Talk Important Don’ts
One extremely popular drink category that should never be batched is the smash. There’s much debate over what exactly constitutes a smash, but one thing is ever-present in all of the arguments: a smash includes a fresh herb of some kind that is muddled or shaken. You can’t batch fresh herbs. Please don’t even think about “pre-muddling,” and you should never let fresh herbs sit too long in a pre-made drink unless you are creating a spirit or simple syrup infusion. If your private event requests a smash as their signature drink, your bartenders will have to go at it the old-fashioned way. Another don’t is batching drinks made with egg whites. I feel like the reasoning behind this doesn’t need any explaining, but I’ll throw some in for good measure. Drinks that include egg whites require a ton of shaking or even the use of an immersion blender to create that beautiful foam-like topping. If you attempt to batch an egg white drink, chances are the egg will separate from the other ingredients and the outcome will be unpleasant. The last don’t on my list is incorporating a fizzy flair into a batched cocktail. I’m not saying you can’t top your finished product off with prosecco or lemon-lime soda, but please don’t try to mix it into the batch itself. Anything that has fizz, like sparkling wine, sodas, or tonic will go flat before you have a chance to serve the drink. These should always be added as the last ingredient at the last moment to guarantee fizzy enjoyment.
Next, Consider Your Proportions
All single hand-crafted cocktails are measured out to ensure they have a uniform taste, so of course, you should do the same with batched cocktails. I know what you’re thinking, “How am I going to multiply and divide ounces into gallons on the fly?” Don’t worry, it’s much simpler than that. Think of the measurements as a ratio. For example, a drink that is comprised of the ever-popular 1 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz, 3/4 oz pour would be a ratio of 2-1-1. If you have the ratio, you can easily and quickly convert a single drink into a quart or gallon without ever picking up your calculator. Just remember to try and make batches based on what you’ll use in a day. You don’t want them sitting in the walk-in for too long as all drinks start to separate over time. In addition, try to stir the batches every few hours to hold the mix.
Now Let’s Talk Additions
One final tip on batching cocktails is to not be afraid of using additions at the serving stage. What I mean by this is there is a myriad of blank canvas cocktails that batch well and can be customized depending on your guests’ tastes. My favorite way of customizing batch cocktails is with infused simple syrup. You can infuse simple syrup with almost anything, but fresh herbs are definitely a favorite. Batch a house gimlet without the sugar and offer infused herbal simple syrups as a custom addition. Get creative. Your bartenders will love the ease of serving the drink and your customers will love the feeling that it was created just for them.
Batched cocktails are an easy way to ensure your bartenders are able to swiftly serve up delicious, consistent drinks to a large group of customers. Offering them as a fun add-on when you’re booking private events is a great way to promote their use. You can even tailor the name to go with the event’s theme or purpose. This is done a lot at weddings, but you can customize a cocktail name to fit the design of any event. Need some inspiration for batched cocktails? Check out these great batch recipes from Tripleseat users.
Duffy’s Tavern & Grill, Maine: Duffy’s Relaxer
1/2 cup mango flavored rum
1/2 cup coconut rum
1/4 cup banana liqueur
1/4 cup Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum
7 cups pineapple juice
7 1/2 cups orange juice
To serve: Shake an 8 ounce portion and serve over ice in a handled mason jar glass with an orange slice, cherry, and an umbrella!
Loretta’s Last Call, Boston: Wildberry Shinead
Blend together for the puree:
2 cups strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup of pomegranate juice
1/4 cup of lime juice
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 cup of Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon Blackberry Moonshine
To serve: Just add ice and top with ginger ale when serving!
For the Infused Vodka:
Mix vodka and cranberry puree. Let sit for three days. Strain the puree from the vodka.
For the Drink:
2 ounces cranberry infused Two James Spirits Vodka
½ ounce infused rosemary simple syrup
3-4 ounces sparkling water
Candied orange peel
For the Rosemary Infused Simple Syrup: Mix ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water. Heat the ingredients until dissolved over medium heat. Add a few sprigs of rosemary right when it comes off the burner and steep before removing the sprigs.
Creating the Drink: In a rocks glass, add ice and top with cranberry infused vodka, rosemary infused simple syrup and sparkling water. Garnish with a candied orange peel and rosemary sprig.
Looking for more drink tips and trends?
Check out more posts about cocktails on the Tripleseat blog.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Tripleseat’s Seated magazine, Spring 2018 issue.