Method and madness: Batching tips for your end-of-summer plans

Here we are, nearing the end of another beautiful summer—and with the dog days sniffing at our backsides, we crave those last cookouts and pool parties. Oh, and Burning Man is just around the corner.

Most of us have had our fill of cheap beer and hard seltzers—so why not make something more fun for that get-together? Why not try a punch or a big container of fun cocktails? Fortunately, your friendly neighborhood liquid dork and his buddies have some tips for making refreshing and fun drinks by the dozen.

Be a planner

“My approach to batching starts with creating a plan,” said Trevor Leppek, owner of Pignic Pub and Patio. “I start with a list of all the necessary ingredients, the number of cocktails and people served, how and where I will store the final product, and how to dispense and serve the drink.”

Thinking through as many variables as possible before you put liquid in a container saves you time and money; nothing is worse than adding that expensive bourbon to the wrong juice.

Planning is more than knowing who, what and where; drink planning also involves math. It’s best practice to start with the measurements in a complete single cocktail, then multiply each ingredient’s measurements by the number of guests or cocktails you are looking to serve. If you love your spiked sweet tea with 1 1/2 ounces of bourbon and 8 ounces of sweet tea, for 10 people, you would add 15 ounces of bourbon to 80 ounces of sweet tea.

Leppek also had some professional advice for those new to batching drinks: “Taste your drink as you’re batching it, making small adjustments to taste as you add your citrus/juice and sweeteners. That’ll help to keep your cocktail deliciously balanced.”

Nostalgia wins

There are people in the world who track which flavors and flavor ideas Americans love, and a vast majority of this data tells us that we love to eat and drink things that bring us back to a simpler time—when the only thing that mattered was the sound of the ice cream truck. Speaking to that little kid inside is a good idea when deciding which drink you want to make.

Anna Vetter, the owner of Ramblin’ Libations, a local mobile beverage bus, reminds us: “Simple batched cocktails are always better, like spiked lemonade or a tasty blackberry sangria.” Flavors like pink lemonade, watermelon, rainbow sherbet and root beer float are all great starting points for making fun cocktails. Most of the time, these flavors are easy to pull off with a small number of ingredients—saving you time and money.

Cocktails are always better when enjoyed with friends, and hopefully, these tips and recipes can help you lubricate the last sweaty days of summer.

Moberly’s frozen blackberry lemonade

Yield: four 12-ounce glasses

  • 6 ounces of vodka
  • 1 cup of fresh whole blackberries
  • 20 ounces of lemonade
  • 5 cups of ice

Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with an orange peel or mint sprig.