“You may think the last thing you’d need at this time of year is to be lumbered with looking after everyone’s drinks,” says Paul Hammond, general manager of Bulletin Place. “But a festive-season party is the perfect time to batch a cocktail. You can end up with time-saving drinks that look after everybody’s needs, and best of all, you’re the hero of the occasion – a whiz behind the bar.”
Hammond offers three golden rules for batching cocktails at home.
Rule one: less is more
Hammond says don’t overdo it. “Making a punch might tempt you into thinking the more ingredients the better and the stronger the better,” he says. “Empty the contents of the liquor cabinet into a bowl, add some tinned passionfruit that’s been hanging around for years and voilà. No. Simple is always best. You’ll end up with a better clarity of flavour and something that actually feels more complex.”
Rule two: don’t settle for cheap ingredients
“People think, ‘Oh, it’s just a cocktail, you’ll never taste it with all that other stuff’,” says Hammond. “I’m not suggesting you should break the bank, but you’ll only get out what you put in.”
Rule three: fresh is best
Hammond says to always use the freshest fruit. “It’s that simple,” he says. “Summer in Australia is the perfect time for so many seasonal delights – stone fruits especially can be the star of the show.”
There’s many ways to spend a New Year’s Eve. Hammond has created three different batched cocktails for three different occasions; one to share with a loved one, one to have with a group of friends and one for a large party.
Share with a loved one: The Boulevardier
“You can take a few more risks if you know the person and what they like,” says Hammond. “If you and your loved one are partial to a Negroni then this is an easy win.”
Serves 2. Approx. 1.4 standard drinks per serve.
60ml Bulleit Rye Whiskey
30ml sweet vermouth
Still mineral water for dilution. (Allow 15 per cent dilution of mineral water if you’re going to serve the drink on ice and 20 per cent if you’re going to serve it immediately.)
Combine ingredients in a jug. Chill in fridge until time to serve.
Share with a group: The Kahlo Spritz
“This is a good opportunity to be a little bit fancy; go for a few bolder flavours to wow your friends,” says Hammond.
Serves 10. Approx. 0.9 standard drinks per serve.
400g white peaches, quartered
100g still mineral water
100g pink grapefruit juice
100g caster sugar
300g lemon juice
200ml Don Julio Blanco
Large ice blocks (the bigger the better)
250g peaches, sliced
Remove the skins from half of the peach quarters and place in a large sealable container. Pour in the rest of the ingredients, except the prosecco. Stir well and chill in the fridge overnight.
The morning before the party, blend the mixture in batches with a stick blender, then push through a sieve to achieve the best consistency.
Half-fill your punch bowl with ice and garnish with peach and grapefruit slices. Pour in mixture and top-up with prosecco.
Share with a party: The Butler Punch
“Making mixed drinks for a party or large group of people is tricky, so stick to a crowd pleaser,” says Hammond. “There’s one answer here: punch. It looks really impressive, you can make it easily and everyone serves themselves.”
Serves 30. Approx. 1.6 standard drinks per serve.
450ml lime juice
750ml sugar syrup
150ml Suze liqueur
150ml Fino (dry) sherry
700ml Tanqueray No. TEN gin
2.25L dry sparkling wine
1L soda water
Large ice blocks
3 cucumbers, diced
3 bunches of mint
Make the base of the punch separately the morning of the party. Remember you don’t have to serve it all at once; you can keep adding more through the evening.
Put all of the ingredients for the base together in a large container. Bottle and keep to one side for service.
About 10 minutes before guests start to arrive, half-fill your punch bowl with ice.
Pour over equal amounts of the base mix and sparkling wine then add 300ml of soda water for every bottle of sparkling.
Depending on the size of your serving vessel you can either do this in stages through the night or do it all together. If you’re doing it in stages, don’t forget you’ll need to refresh the ice as well.
Garnish with the mint, cucumber and flowers.
This article presented in partnership with World Class.