Episode 016 - Batched Cocktails


Welcome back to another episode of the Modern Bar Cart Podcast. I’m your host, Eric Kozlik, and today, I wanted to share something that’s been on my mind quite a bit lately, and that is the topic of batched cocktails.

This week, Modern Bar Cart is partnering with WeWork for a very special event at their new location on H Street here in Washington, DC, where we’ll be providing the cocktails for about 300 people, and that is no small feat.

If you remember back to our mailbag episode, we got a question about batched cocktails for 20-30 people, but this particular event is at least one order of magnitude beyond that. And as I was planning these cocktail recipes and thinking about all the logistics necessary for 300 people to walk into a beautifully curated space and enjoy a well-made drink, I started making mental notes of all the little tips and tricks I could offer to home bartenders who are also looking to entertain a fairly large group.

Show Notes

Featured Cocktail: The Hot Old Fashioned

Today's featured cocktail is the Hot Old Fashioned featuring Hot by SLY, which is Modern Bar Cart's brand new Cinnamon-Chili syrup. It's made just like a normal Old Fashioned, but overall it's less work and it's got a nice spicy kick.

  • 2 oz Bourbon or rye
  • 1/2oz Hot by SLY
  • Several dashes Embitterment Aromatic Bitters

Combine all that in a mixing glass with ice, stir until chilled and mixed, and then strain into a rocks glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Coming up with a Cocktail Concept

It's not easy to come up with a cocktail concept for a large group of people, but the golden rule is to have something to communicate through flavor

Other good ways to get some creative traction with your ingredients are:

  • Consider what seasonal flavors are popular at that time of the year
  • Use emerging trends or current events to be on the cutting edge
  • Think about the occasion for the gathering--why are all these people getting together?

If you want an example of an entire menu that has been arranged and developed around a theme, check out this menu developed for National Poetry month, which was a collaboration between Eric Kozlik & Chantal Tseng.

Cocktail Batching Spreadsheets

This is where I show off some of my magic. I'm going to take you through this step-by-step. Before you make your spreadsheet, you need to establish a few things:

  1. The cocktail recipe, broken down by ingredient.

  2. The number of people who are expected to attend and take part in the cocktail drinking

  3. The number of drinks per person (and here it’s very important to consider how people are getting to your event and how they’ll get home safely)

  4. And finally, any budgetary constraints. If there’s a ceiling on your price, you need to establish that right off the bat.

Once you've got that down, it's time to start plugging in numbers.

First, input all your ingredients and their corresponding amounts in your cocktail recipe. Then multiply that entire recipe by the number of drinks you need to serve (guest x drinks per person). 

Cocktail Spreadsheet - Step 1.png

Next, convert your oz to ml (oz x 29.5735), and divide that number by 750 (or 1750 if you're purchasing handles) to get the number of bottles you need.

Cocktail Spreadsheet - Step 2.png

Round that up to the next bottle if you want to be conservative, and then input your cost per unit. All you need to do to get your total cost is to multiply your cost/unit by total units needed. And Voila! You've got your whole recipe budgeted out and broken down by ingredient.

Cocktail Spreadsheet Step 3.png


Punch photo: By Shawn Lea from Jackson, MS, US (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons