The brilliance of the pre-batched cocktail lies in both its efficiency and consistency. Prepared and frozen ahead of time, the next day’s ready-to-pour cocktail yields a richer mouthfeel than one stirred à la minute while effortlessly achieving that coveted ice-cold temperature—without any ice.
Bypassing any stirring, shaking or straining, this plan-ahead approach can be applied to just about any spirit-forward recipe. Once nestled in the freezer overnight, they’re on standby and ready to be poured at a moment’s notice. As demonstrated in Dukes’ world renowned Martini and Sauvage’s crystal-clear Stinger, a cocktail’s time in the freezer not only frees up the drink-maker from manning the home bar, but also transforms the drink’s texture into something more lush and creamy, muting the harsher characteristics of high-proof spirits, like gin or Cognac.
Bottling your cocktail allows another less-expected outcome as well—making room for subtle infusions that are otherwise impossible in single-serving drinks. Even a few dashes of rose water or spicy bitters can add floral notes or a hint of heat. Armed with a proper bottling setup (no more than a freezer-safe bottle and airtight cap), the possibilities are endless.
What to Batch
Generally, spirit-forward, stirred cocktails are most conducive to pre-batching and freezing since their higher alcohol content prevents the drink from simply turning into an icy, slushy mixture. Of the usual suspects, the Martini is an obvious choice, and its riffs are likewise fair game—the herbal-leaning Alaska, or the sherry-accented Tuxedo, for example, as well as Amor y Amargo’s lightly bitter River Tam. Gin’s cooling botanical nature fares well in a freezer-friendly Negroni, too. Other classics that call for aged spirits (like an Old-Fashioned, Sazerac or Manhattan) are also prime for a pre-batch and freeze. In short, if it’s boozy and shelf-stable, throw it in the freezer.
How to Dilute
Since batching and freezing skips the stirring step altogether, it’s essential to calculate water dilution as part of the recipe. William Elliott, bar director of Brooklyn’s Maison Premiere and Sauvage, recommends 1 ¼ ounce of water per serving in his bar’s pre-batched Martini and Stinger, though only ¾ ounce for each Negroni serving, which has a lower alcohol content thanks to the Campari and vermouth components. According to Liquid Intelligence author Dave Arnold, built drinks like the Old-Fashioned require less dilution overall and can likewise get away with ¾ of an ounce per serving, while the Manhattan and other similarly proportioned cocktails tolerate between 1 ¼ and 1 ½ ounces water when frozen.
How to Bottle
To keep your bottled drinks airtight, you’ll need crown caps or pop tops. Crown caps are best suited for bottles designed for fewer servings since they do not reseal, whereas pop tops (aka swing tops) can easily be resealed and stuck back in the freezer for a later date. If you’re going the crown cap route, don’t forget the bottle capper.