Go Big with Batched Cocktails for a Crowd
Looking to host a cottage weekend, big family gathering or good old-fashioned group hang? Would you rather not fuss over mixing drinks suited to everyone’s individual preferences? Need time to finish up in the kitchen? Have no fear, big batch cocktails are here!
Easily prepared ahead of time and in a convenient self-serve format, big batch beverages are a great hack for busy hosts who would rather spend more time mingling with guests than serving them from behind the bar. O&B’s Cocktail Specialist Raj Rijhwani is no stranger to large format cocktails, perhaps known more traditionally as ‘the punch’. We asked Raj to share his tips for mixing up a crowd-pleasing big batch beverage that will ensure a satisfying sip and good time for all. Here’s what he had to say:
Remember the Core Four
There’s an easy way to remember how to craft a killer punch. According to Raj, if you stick to a core four ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong. Luckily, they’re easy to remember: something strong, something weak, something sour and something sweet. Simple, right? Focus on the flavour profile of the drink you aim to highlight (e.g. fruity, herbaceous or refreshing) and let it guide your process — no one wants a concoction of leftovers!
Strength Level: Easy
For your ‘something strong’, Raj recommends using vodka, gin, rum or tequila as they are steadfast crowd favourites, however this comes with a warning. “Careful not to go too strong”, he advises. It’s easy to get carried away and make a blissfully boozy batch, but you don’t want guests getting too buzzed too quickly.
Stretch It Out
For ‘something weak’, Raj loves using fortified wines like vermouths or sherry because they lengthen a big batch cocktail without getting guests too tipsy. A non-alcoholic gin or tequila is also a great way to stretch out a big batch drink, as it lowers the overall alcohol content without taking away from its complexity.
Go Big or Go Home
When it comes to serving a big batch cocktail, the ideal vessel is a large punch bowl with a nearby ladle for guests to serve themselves. You can find a great, affordable bowl at your local home goods store, or why not thrift one? “The beauty of the punch bowl is that you can leave the herbs and ingredients sitting together and the flavours will develop with a slow infusion,” notes Raj. No bowl? No problem! You can also bottle your big batch drink using empty wine or spirit bottles and leave them in the fridge to pour when you’re ready.
Raj is sharing his current favourite recipe with us: a cocktail he dreamt up for his most recent soirée, which he calls ‘The Crimson Passions’. Made using gin, Lillet Blanc, lemons, passion fruit juice, sparkling wine and a smattering of salt, pepper and rosemary, the result is super refreshing, unique and perfectly punchy.
The Crimson Passions
serves 12–14 drinks
750ml Lillet Blanc
4oz lemon juice
8oz passion fruit juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
3–4 rosemary sprigs
1 bottle sparkling wine
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled punch bowl, mix, serve and enjoy!