GET THE MAGAZINE

Subscribe today and save up to 66%*, plus get free access to the iPad and iPhone editions.

Subscribe

Get Crafty at Home with Robb Report’s Art of Batching Cocktail Recipes

We help you bring home artisanal cocktail batching, the craftiest trend on the cocktail scene…

The Artof Batching

 

The craftiest trend on the cocktail scene hits home.

 

When the London bartender and mixologist Tony Conigliaro bottled his first Manhattan a decade ago, he had no inkling his idea would be so prescient.

Prebatching has now become the hottest technique on the cocktail scene. Conigliaro’s original inspiration was a bottle of 1920s vermouth. Marveling at its mellow and harmonious complexity, he wondered if cocktails aged in bottle would develop the same characteristics. Opening his first experiments a year later, he discovered they did, and the idea soon caught on.

London remains the epicenter for batching: Ryan Chetiyawardana (who worked for Conigliaro at his 69 Colebrooke Row establishment) has made waves with White Lyan, a bar where all the drinks are pre-bottled and served straight from the fridge, “finished” in front of the customer with only minimal embellishment. Bottled cocktails are also a staple at Dandelyan at Mondrian London, Chetiyawardana’s latest bar. The CraftCocktail Co. in fashionable Bethnal Green and the whimsically named WorshipStreet Whistling Shop in hipster-hub Shoreditch are batching hot spots, too.

But the trend also has become firmly entrenched Stateside, ever since Jeffrey Morgenthaler (the Spirited Awards’2016 American Bartender of the Year) pioneered prebottled cocktails at Clyde Common in Portland, Ore. Morgenthaler’s inspiration? None other than one of Conigliaro’s bottle-aged Manhattans, which he encountered at 69 Colebrooke Row. Back home in Oregon, he added an old whiskey cask to the mix, and his barrel-aged Negroni soon became the stuff of legend. Now dozens of bars across the United States are experimenting with bottled cocktails.

Let us not forget that batching, in its most rudimentary form, has been around for quite some time.

After all, punch, the beverage of choice for 18th-century scoundrels, is nothing if not a batched cocktail. Mixed by numbers in a large bowl, punches require no shaking or stirring. Guests can even serve themselves—perfect for the crush of a well-attended soiree. Even bartenders appreciate the genre: Morgenthaler, for example, has a daily punch program at Clyde Common.

But if you’re willing to be a bit more ambitious, home batching can be taken further. The first step is to scale your recipe, which is simplified by applying some elementary math to reveal the ratio of ingredients. The next is to factor in dilution, if ice is critical to the character of the drink: prepare a test cocktail, weigh it, shake it over ice, and weigh it again. The difference is the amount of water contributed by the melting ice; and since 1 milliliter of water weighs 1 gram, figuring out how much water to add to your recipe is easy enough. For the math-averse, mix the batch ahead of time, but shake the drinks over ice before serving.

There are also a few fundamental don’ts. “Avoid eggs” is every bartender’s first piece of advice for the home batcher: They are liable to separate and demand a lot of shaking. Fruit juices and bubbly ingredients—whether sparkling wine, club soda, or tonic—must also be added at the last minute; they’ll lose their freshness and effervescence if there is any gap between mixing and service.

Within those parameters, give the imagination free rein. Simple syrups, for example, can be infused with teas and herbs to contribute depth and complexity.

Chetiyawardana recommends using the humble microwave for garnishes to provide a sharp burst of heat that liberates flavor—whether it be the citrus bitters of orange peel or the warm spice of cinnamon. Consider preparing garnishes in advance to speed up the finishing of your drinks.

Experiment with refrigerator and freezer times to find the optimum temperature for each recipe. Shaken over ice, most drinks will reach –5 degrees centigrade (23 degrees Fahrenheit), but that’s just a starting point when batching.

And the best part? By the time your guests arrive, you can join in and enjoy the fruits of your labor, assured of your status as the ultimate cocktail craftsman.

There are even signs that batching, until recently the preserve of cutting-edge bars, is entering the commercial mainstream.

The London department store Selfridges began stocking Chetiyawardana’s range of elegantly labeled Mr Lyan bottled cocktails in 2014. California’s Craft Distillers debuted its Fluid Dynamics line of barrel-aged drinks in 2013, and Utah’s High West Distillery now sells “Barreled” Boulevardiers and rye Manhattans. And with bottled cocktails on the retail shelves, the next frontier is the home.

In fact, batched cocktails should appeal to the fastidious host for much the same reason they’re so popular with bartenders and mixologists. While bottle- and barrel-aging (as well as complex preparations like White Lyan’s tincture of chicken bones dissolved in phosphoric acid) are probably best left to the professionals, everyone can enjoy batching’s other advantages.

“It’s all about total control.”

—Ryan Chetiyawardana

By the time a batched cocktail is served, every aspect of the drink has already been leisurely perfected, with absolute precision and consistency, leaving hosts certain of guests’ enjoyment.

All the work, in short, has been done in advance. The drinks may be labor-intensive—Chetiyawardana estimates that the team at White Lyan spends “about 70 percent more time prepping than an average cocktail bar.” But service is as simple as opening a bottle. If that appeals to professional bartenders, experienced at working rapidly under pressure, it’s all the more attractive for the home mixologist: For hosts, batching means not only better drinks, but also a chance to dump the ice and shaker and relax with guests.

Bringing the Bartender Home

With a new generation of bottled cocktails, precisely crafted & barrel‑aged drinks are just a twist away.

By Michalene Busico

The boom in batched cocktails has had a side benefit for the home bartender: Leading mixologists and distillers have begun bottling their customized drinks, taking advantage of professional techniques such as barrel aging or slowly infusing spirits with fruit, spice, or even candle wax. These bottled cocktails have nothing in common with those artificial-tasting drinks sold on supermarket shelves; they are made with premium spirits and natural ingredients with the care one would expect from those whose reputations are on the line. When served at the right temperature in a properly chilled glass, it is hard to believe they were poured directly from a bottle.

Fluid Dynamics Dry Martini, 1850 Cocktail, Rye Manhattan, & St. Nick

Craft Distillers in California, best known for its Germain-Robin brandies, makes this line of aged cocktails based on its fine spirits. The 80-proof Dry Martini—a perfect balance of Russell Henry London dry gin and Vya extra-dry vermouth, aged in stainless steel for six weeks—is crisp and redolent of juniper and pine, with an earthy brine on the palate. The barrel-aged cocktails, from about 65 to 78 proof, include the festive St. Nick, a ruby blend of Germain-Robin brandy and Clear Creek cranberry liqueur; the 1850 Cocktail, a Sazerac variation made with Germain-Robin brandy, Low Gap whiskey, and Germain-Robin absinthe; and a Rye Manhattan with Low Gap rye. In each case, the quality of the spirit is enhanced by careful cocktail making.

$64 per liter

craftdistillers.com

High West Barreled Boulevardier & the 36th Vote Barreled Manhattan

The distinct flavors of bourbon and rye shine through in these barrel-aged drinks from the Utah distiller High West. The 72-proof Boulevardier (bourbon, Vya sweet vermouth, and Gran Classico amaro) mellows for 120 days in oak, while the 36th Vote, a classic 74-proof Manhattan whose name commemorates Utah’s deciding vote to end Prohibition, languishes for 90 days. Both make a strong case for the benefits of the barrel.

$55 each

highwest.com

Mr Lyan’s Spotless Martini, Candlelit Manhattan, and Rainy Day Spritz

Ryan Chetiyawardana, owner of the innovative London bars White Lyan and Dandelyan, continues to push the envelope with his bottled drinks. The 61-proof Spotless Martini is like sipping a garden of citrus, flowers, and juniper berries and is made with his London dry gin, vermouth, and essences of olives and lemons—no need to garnish, no chance of altering his perfectly calculated ratios. The 55-proof Manhattan, a blend of his bourbon, vermouth, and bitters, gets an alluring softness from wax—the bottle is lined with it. And his Spritz, a 33-proof mix of raspberry eau-de-vie, vermouth, and bitter rhubarb liqueur, is a light libation poured over ice, or the basis for a spritz with a splash of Prosecco or white wine. All are available online at Master of Malt (masterofmalt.com). $31 to $51 each

mrlyan.com

Watershed Old-Fashioned

This Ohio microdistiller makes a savory, 70-proof cocktail with its small-batch bourbon, raw sugar, cherry juice, and bitters. The drink spotlights the high quality of the spirit and has a spicy, woodsy character, rather than the fruity sweetness we expected from a bourbon drink enhanced with cherry. Until recently, the old-fashioned was available only in Ohio, but it is now sold online by Binny’s Beverage Depot in Chicago binnys.com. $45 each

watersheddistillery.com

Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Limited Release Rock & Rye

A recent release from Cooper Spirits Co.—which put the liqueurs St-Germain and Crème Yvette on mixology’s top shelf—is a revival of the Rock and Rye. This 100-proof bottling blends 8-year-old rye whiskey, air-dried navel oranges, raw honey, Angostura bitters, and rock candy. At that proof, it begs to be poured over ice for a little dilution. $35 each

drinkslowandlow.com

Bully Boy Old-Fashioned

Boston’s first craft distillery released its version of an old-fashioned last year. Made with Bully Boy’s American Straight Whiskey, sugar, and a hefty dose of bitters, the 71-proof drink is a festive version of the cocktail, with a pinkish tint and notes of peppermint and gingerbread. $30 each

bullyboydistillers.com

Courage and Stone Black Manhattan and Whiskey Old-Fashioned

Aisha Tyler, actress and cohost of The Talk television show, has collaborated with New York Distilling Co., maker of Dorothy Parker American gin, on a line of bottled drinks debuting this fall. Tyler has long batched cocktails at home and prefers drinks that are “familiar and classic, with a small special touch.” The first two releases are just that: The Black Manhattan combines rye, bitters, and a well-placed accent of morello cherry, while the old-fashioned tastes as if a twist of orange has just been snapped over the glass. $50 each

courageandstone.com

Om Organic Mixology

These 30-proof liqueurs, made in Michigan with a base of sugarcane vodka, can be sipped straight over ice or mixed with other spirits to make a stronger cocktail. The flavors, created by mixologist Natalie Bovis, seem inspired by the era of the Cosmopolitan and Chocolate Martini, and include cranberry and blood orange, Meyer lemon and ginger, and dark chocolate and sea salt. $25 each

omspirits.com

Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy Rum

This infused dark rum—named best new product at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail and made in collaboration with the cocktail historian David Wondrich—is modeled on a 19th-century “sipping rum” and makes a fine drink served neat or on the rocks. Its syrupy, citrusy aroma gives way to juicy pineapple flavors mingled with rich, 80-proof Trinidadian rum. It avoids cloying sweetness with a hint of the fruit’s natural acidity and greenness—the result of infusing the pineapple rinds separately from the fruit. $35 each

plantationrum.com

Nuked Negroni

A quick zap in the microwave infuses Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Nuked Negroni with even more bittersweet flavors.

1 Grapefruit

12 ounces gin

12 ounces vermouth

12 ounces campari

6 blackberries

1 sprig rosemary

Using a vegetable peeler, take a strip of zest from the grapefruit. Place it in a microwavable bowl with the remaining ingredients. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes on full power. Let the mixture cool, then strain, bottle, and refrigerate.

To serve, fill a chilled rocks glass with large ice cubes, pour in the Negroni, and garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

whitelyan.com | morganshotelgroup.com

Bottled Sweet Martini

Bottled Sweet Martini

Somewhere between an Angel Face and a sweet martini, the Bottled Sweet Martini by Ryan Chetiyawardana has a satisfying balance of dry, rich, and sweet—and is ideal for cool-weather entertaining.

Bottled Sweet Martini by Ryan Chetiyawardana

8 ounces gin

6 ounces apple brandy (Somerset cider, bonded applejack, or Calvados

6 ounces sweet vermouth

2 ounces apricot liqueur (such as Merlet)

8 dashes orange bitters

Lemon for garnish

In a large container, mix together all the ingredients except the lemon garnish.

Bottle, then chill well in the refrigerator.

To serve, cut a small coin of lemon peel. Pour the martini into a chilled cocktail glass.

Snap the lemon coin over the top and drop it in.

whitelyan.com | morganshotelgroup.com

Fig Leaf Old Fashioned

At Otium in Los Angeles, Nick Meyer and Julian Cox’s Fig Leaf Old Fashioned begins with a sultry rum, rich with the flavors of tobacco and vanilla. Fig leaves add nuance, and so do Redeye Bitters, made with coffee, bacon fat, and white oak.

Fig Leaf Old Fashioned by Nick Meyer and Julian Cox

Combine all ingredients except the optional garnish in a large bowl, stir well, pour into a sealable bottle, and refrigerate until well chilled (up to 2 weeks). To serve, pour over ice in a rocks glass, and garnish with a fresh fig leaf, if desired.

Fig Leaf Syrup: To first make a fig tincture, remove the stalks and wash 9 ounces of fresh fig leaves (9 to 10 large leaves); squeeze out excess water. Bring a medium pot of water to simmer and blanch leaves for 15 seconds. Remove to an ice bath, drain, and squeeze out excess water.

Place leaves in a bowl, add 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon Everclear, and let macerate for 12 to 14 hours. Pour the infusion through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on leaves to extract all liquid. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

For the syrup, mix together 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup filtered water in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add 2 ounces of the fig tincture, and combine with an immersion blender.

Store covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

otiumla.com

8 lemons peeled

2 1/4 cups sugar

2 cups strong hot black tea

61⁄3 cups (1.5 liters) silver tequila

1 cup (250 milliliters) crème de cassis

31⁄4 cups fresh lime juice

121⁄2 cups (3 liters) chilled soda water

Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish

Fig Leaf Old Fashioned by Nick Meyer and Julian Cox

Combine all ingredients except the optional garnish in a large bowl, stir well, pour into a sealable bottle, and refrigerate until well chilled (up to 2 weeks). To serve, pour over ice in a rocks glass, and garnish with a fresh fig leaf, if desired.

Fig Leaf Syrup: To first make a fig tincture, remove the stalks and wash 9 ounces of fresh fig leaves (9 to 10 large leaves); squeeze out excess water. Bring a medium pot of water to simmer and blanch leaves for 15 seconds. Remove to an ice bath, drain, and squeeze out excess water.

Place leaves in a bowl, add 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon Everclear, and let macerate for 12 to 14 hours. Pour the infusion through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on leaves to extract all liquid. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

For the syrup, mix together 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup filtered water in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add 2 ounces of the fig tincture, and combine with an immersion blender.

Store covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

otiumla.com

Brewed In Brooklyn

Ryan Chetiyawardana of White Lyan and Dandelyan in London created Brewed in Brooklyn—a distant cousin to a Manhattan that is filled with character.

Brewed in Brooklyn by Ryan Chetiyawardana

“It doesn’t feel quite at home in the early evening, though. This one really comes to life after dark.”

1 orange

4 ounces India pale ale

4 ounces stout

2 ounces amaro

8 ounces water

20 ounces rye whiskey

8 raspberries

Pinch fennel seeds

Pinch dried wormwood

1⁄2 teaspoon dried dandelion root

1⁄2 teaspoon burdock root

1⁄2 cup sugar

Orange peel for garnish, optional

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange. Place it in a microwavable bowl with the remaining ingredients, except for the optional garnish.

Whisk to remove some of the froth from the beer and dissolve the sugar.

Cover and microwave for 3 minutes on full power.

Let cool, then strain using a fine mesh strainer or muslin, bottle, and refrigerate until well chilled.

To serve, pour into chilled cocktail glasses and garnish with a sliver of orange peel, if desired.

whitelyan.com | morganshotelgroup.com

El Diablo Punch

A classic cocktail from the 1940s, made with reposado tequila, crème de cassis, lime juice, and ginger beer.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Clyde Common & Pépé Le Moko in Portland, Oregon took a few liberties with the drink and adapted it into this unusual, autumnal punch.

8 lemons peeled

2 1/4 cups sugar

2 cups strong hot black tea

61⁄3 cups (1.5 liters) silver tequila

1 cup (250 milliliters) crème de cassi

31⁄4 cups fresh lime juice

121⁄2 cups (3 liters) chilled soda water

Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish

El Diablo Punch by Jeffrey Morgenthaler

In a bowl, muddle the lemons into the sugar and let sit for 1 hour.

Add the hot black tea and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

In a large container, combine the tea mixture, tequila, crème de cassis, and lime juice.

Refrigerate 4 hours, or overnight, until well chilled.

To serve, place an ice block in a punch bowl, add the punch and chilled soda water, and grate nutmeg over the top.

clydecommon.com | pepelemokopdx.com

More Spirits

Comments