Let's say you're going to a house party and you want to bring a little alcoholic something. Beer and wine are a safe, easy bet, but a bottle of your favourite handcrafted cocktail says "I tried" without trying too hard. Store-bought cocktails are rarely that great, so why not make your own? Making delicious, fresh-tasting pre-bottled libations is actually quite easy, you just have to know and follow a few simple rules.
You Gotta Know How To Hold 'Em
The first thing you have to do is decide how you're going to serve your delicious creations. If you're hosting a party and want to keep the drinks flowing, a big pitcher works just fine. But if you want to transport them to a friend's abode or give them out as favours, swing-top glass bottles work just fine. (You can find them at IKEA for $1.69.)
Besides bottles, the only other equipment you really need is a funnel and a measuring cup. Unless you want to carbonate -- which we'll cover in the last recipe -- you're all set to start mixing.
Know When To Pour 'Em
As Michael Dietsch of Serious Eats points out, some ingredients bottle better than others. If your beverage contains fresh fruit juice, it's best to partake on the day it was made, but if it's mostly alcohol you just need to keep it in the fridge (especially if you're using vermouth, which oxidizes at room temperature). Cocktails containing eggs and cream are best avoided altogether, as these taste and look their best when made to order.
Know How To Mix 'Em Up
Now the fun part. You're going to want to stick to what Liquor.com calls "spirit-heavy classics" like Manhattans, Negronis and martinis. In addition to your standard ingredients, you're going to want to dilute with a little water. This dilution, which is usually accomplished by stirring everything with some ice, helps smooth out bitter or sour flavours and soften any alcoholic "bite." (Alternatively: You can omit the water in the initial bottling and pour over ice later, but I like making them so they're ready to consume "as is.") Once everything is combined, chill in the fridge or cooler until you're ready to serve.
Bottled Manhattan (via Liquor.com)
Makes six 254ml servings
- 3.5 cups Rye whiskey
- 415 ml Sweet vermouth
- 12 dashes Angostura bitters
- 354 ml Filtered water
Pour everything into a large pitcher and stir gently to combine. Funnel into your bottles of choice and close them. Chill until ready to enjoy.
Margarita/Sidecar/Sour (via Serious Eats)
Though these are three different cocktails, the ratio of liquor/triple sec/citrus is the same (3 parts spirit (tequila, cognac, whiskey) to 2 parts triple sec and 1 part citrus juice). The below will make enough for a 950 ml batch.
- 385 ml liquor (tequila, cognac, rum, vodka, bourbon, etc.)
- 238 ml triple sec
- 148 ml citrus juice (lime or lemon)
- 177 ml bottled or filtered water
Funnel everything into a bottle and shake it up. Chill and shake again before enjoying.
Bottled Americano (via Imbibe)
If you want to show off, a carbonated cocktail is a great way to do that. It requires a little extra equipment, but I think the extra work pays off. Cracking open a cold one has never looked cooler.
- 177 ml Campari
- 118 ml sweet vermouth
- 177 ml filtered water
- Large glass pitcher or jar
- Carbonation tool (you can buy a fancy gadget like the Perlini, or you can make your own carbonation system)
- Small funnel
- Individual bottles (this recipe is batched for three 6-ounce bottles)
- Crown capper
- Bottle caps
- Combine all ingredients in a large glass pitcher or jar and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Pour contents into your preferred vessel for carbonation and charge with the CO2.
- Quickly funnel the carbonated cocktail into individual bottles.
- Using a crown capper and bottle caps, bottle and cap the cocktails. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 months.
Now Drink 'Em Up
Your beautiful babies are now ready for the drinking. You can give them as host/hostess gifts, serve them at a dinner party, or drink them on your couch.