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How To Scale Up A Cocktail

Christmas is known as the silly season, Christmas party season, and the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also cocktail o’clock. There’s nothing better than sitting around the Christmas tree on Christmas night sharing a festive cocktail and party drinks with family or raising a glass of your favourite fizzy concoction with friends to bring in the New Year. 

In this blog post, we’re going to help you scale up classic and festive cocktails to make batch cocktails and pitcher drinks – easier to create and easier to share. Scaling up a cocktail means turning a recipe that usually makes one drink into a recipe for a pitcher of cocktails that everyone can enjoy at the same time. Makes sense doesn’t it? Especially at Christmas when the house is usually full. 

We’ll break down well-known, popular cocktail recipes and show you how to increase the quantities of ingredients to make more without sacrificing flavour or taste.

How to batch from scratch 

It’s important to remember that when it comes to scaling up, or batch making, cocktails or Christmas punch, that it’s not an exact science and there are a lot of variables. However, following a few simple rules of thumb makes it a lot easier to get right. 


Start Strong

This is one of the big differences between making a single cocktail and batch-making cocktails. Generally, when making a single cocktail, it’s accepted that you start with the lowest-volume ingredient and work your way up. When scaling up mixed drinks, it’s the opposite, always start with the biggest-volume ingredient, like the spirit-base, the exception being with champagne-based and prosecco-based cocktails, where you always top up when ready to serve.


Prep Ahead

Save time (and stress) by mixing your spirits ahead of time, while adding any fizz just before serving. Fruit can also be chopped/peeled ahead of time and chilled, or frozen in ice cubes. 

If you’re creating something that’s pure alcohol, it can be batched and bottled and kept just as you would any spirit, ready to be gifted or ready to pour.


Be Careful with Bitters

Bitters and aromatics are big flavours and, if you add too much, they can really ruin a drink. A good way to think about it is to half the amount the scaled-up recipe calls for. So if a single cocktail recipe calls for 1 measure of bitters, use 2.5 measures in your scaled-up recipe for 5 people. 


Using Ice

Using too much ice in a scaled-up cocktail recipe can dilute the flavour as it melts. We recommend either serving ice in the individual glasses, or add to the pitcher just before serving. To avoid dilution, it is recommended to start by making one drink without ice and measuring the amount, then mix the drink with the amount of ice you would normally use, strain and remeasure.

Then simply calculate the difference between the two to get the amount of water you need to add per serving of the big batch version of the cocktail. 


Trust your taste buds

As scaling up cocktails is not an exact science it’s important to trust your tastes. Remember the cardinal rule of cooking is you can always add more but can never add less, so start small with the big flavours, have a sip and adjust to taste.


Batch of the day

Make use of your bowls (like fishbowl cocktails), jugs or large pans to batch your cocktails ready to serve. 

Always remember to adjust flavours and quantities to taste.

Scaling up Aperol Spritz

When scaling up an Aperol Spritz recipe, make your Aperol mix and keep in the fridge until your guests arrive. Have the orange peel garnishes prepared and the prosecco chilled. Then when it comes time to serve, simply top up your measure of Aperol with the prosecco and soda, garnish and add ice.

Get the recipe for two, and adapt, here: 

Equipment you’ll need: a serving spoon, a large wine glass, a pitcher or a jug.

Get the recipe >

Making a batch of apple hot toddies 

Preparing a Christmas batch of apple hot toddies is very similar to making a pot of winter mulled wine. Just warm the liquid gently while being careful not to let it boil. If you have guests arriving you can keep your mix warm on the stove or in an urn, or if you’re going for a nice winter walk in the park, a thermos of apple hot toddy is always welcome. If serving indoors, make sure you use a heatproof jug and glasses.

Try this recipe >

How to batch make Boulevardiers 

Scaling up a boulevardiers, which is very similar to a negroni but uses bourbon instead of gin, follows the same formula when mixing your spirit base. Just have your garnish ready, and if you have a jumbo ice tray, they’re great when served over a large chunk of ice, simply make sure you have any large cubes to go around. Batch prepared and then bottled, this cocktail also makes a fantastic homemade gift. 

Get the Recipe >

How to scale up a Floradora 

We love a floradora and think they’re a great way to add some fruity refreshing flavour to your Christmas party. To batch make them, muddle the raspberries, gin, lime and sugar syrup with a rolling pin, then give everything a stir. When you’re ready to serve, top up with ginger ale and garnish with pre-prepared fruit.

Try this recipe >

Now that you’ve read our top tips on how to batch make your cocktails, it’s time to give it a go. As always, we love hearing how you get on, so please tag us in your creations and use #OcadoLife 

Don’t have time to make your own? Shop our drinks aisle.

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