Get Your Drink On: How to DIY & Pre-Mix Cocktails For Your Big Day

Photos by Two Spoons Photography

With the ever-increasing popularity of craft cocktails, it might seem nearly impossible to serve your favorite cocktail and still stay within your budget. Luckily, there’s a DIY solution that won’t break the bank: pre-batched cocktails. By making large quantities of the drink before your wedding, you can ensure that the drinks will be quick, tasty, balanced and consistent. To help guide your quest for the perfect signature cocktail, we’ve put together a how-to guide for one method of pre-batching cocktails.

1. Make a list.

Put together a list of your favorite cocktails. Are they shaken or stirred? Do they require muddling, fire, egg whites, glass rinses or a blender? How intricate is the garnish? How many ingredients do they have?

2. Keep it simple.

Now, we’re not saying to choose the cocktail with the fewest ingredients. However, minimizing prep time is key. Any recipes that call for muddling, glass rinses, egg whites or using a blender open up the possibility of inconsistencies in the drink’s taste, texture or appearance. By minimizing the amount of prep required at the event itself, you minimize the number of potential stressors for yourself, guests and bartender.

3. Choose your cocktail.

Deciding which cocktail you’ll serve is a big step. It also determines when you can batch your cocktail. Anything that has fruit juice in it will need to be made on your wedding day, then shaken to reincorporate ingredients right before it starts. Drinks that are all (or mostly) booze can be batched the day before and refrigerated.

4. Try out the recipe.

Make it at home. Tweak it until you love it.

5. Do the math. 

Most recipes available for craft cocktails are for one serving.

To batch the drink, multiply the original proportions by the number of drinks you want to serve. For example, consider a Gimlet adapted for 50 people.

GIMLET INGREDIENTS

SINGLE SERVING

3/4 oz simple syrup

3/4 oz lime juice

2 oz gin or vodka

50 COCKTAIL SERVING

3/4 x 50 = 38 oz simple syrup

3/4 x 50 = 38 oz lime juice

2 x 50 = 100 oz gin or vodka

You’ll notice that I rounded up on the simple syrup and lime juice amounts. That’s okay. A tiny change in a big batch is much less noticeable than a change in a single serving.

6. Choose your vessel.

Make sure your pitcher is big enough to hold everything and has room to add ice to shake or stir. If it’s not, figure out how much it’ll hold and break up your recipe accordingly.

7. Prep everything ahead of time. 

Batch the cocktail and prepare the garnishes. Have the bartender put ice in the glasses right before the cocktail hour, and be ready to shake or stir as soon as it starts.

This article originally appeared in Volume One of Catalyst Wedding Magazine. Order your copy for more great articles.


Clair McLafferty is a freelance writer and assistant bar manager at Octane Coffee + Bar in Birmingham, AL.