Imagine you’re at a party, looking sharp as hell, chatting with friends, and enjoying your cocktail.
Out of the blue, your buddy taps you on the shoulder. You turn around and see an empty glass in his hand. Before opening his mouth, you already know what he’s going to say.
“Mind making me a drink?”
Having to make cocktails one by one (or round by round) is fine when you’re enjoying a drink with 2-3 other people in an intimate setting (like, say, your living room).
But if you’re at a party with 6, 8, 10+ people, you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all night, stirring round after round. You want to have a good time!
That’s why making a batch of bottled Old Fashioned cocktails BEFORE the party is the way to go.
I celebrated Friendsgiving with a few friends who stayed in NYC this year, and I brought batch-made Old Fashioneds. It was great — everyone could help themselves to their own OFs!
You can batch make many of the classic whiskey-based cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Boulevardier (or its gin-based brother, the Negroni).
So today, let’s talk about how to make an Old Fashioned. A lot of them. All at once.
Let’s make a big batch of Old Fashioneds!
The Ingredients You Need For A Batch-Made, Bottled Old Fashioned
- 1 bottle (750mL) Bulleit Bourbon (or your favorite bourbon whiskey)
- Angostura Aromatic Bitters
- Simple Syrup (homemade or store-bought). You could also use agave or maple syrup (though this may make purists scoff)
- Orange and Lemon peels for garnish
The Bottled Old Fashioned Recipe
1. Pour about 2 fl oz of bourbon into a separate glass.
Drink immediately (or save for later, up to you). You need to make room in the bottle for the other ingredients.
My go-to bourbon whiskey is Bulleit, and if you’re unsure which brand to go with, just stick with this one. It’s great for mixed drinks and easy to sip on neat, as well.
2. Add 2 fl oz (plus another little splash) of simple syrup to the bottle.
I use agave or pure maple syrup (wildcard) in my OFs, but you could always buy regular simple syrup (or even make a basic simple syrup at home).
Why the additional splash? To answer that, we gotta do a little bit of math.
- Rule of thumb is 0.25 fl oz of simple syrup for every 3 fl oz of whiskey (approximately the amount in one drink).
- A 750mL bottle is 25 fl oz.
So if we’re trying to figure out how much simple syrup to add:
- 25 fl oz bottle / 3 fl oz (one drink) = a bit more than 8 fl oz
- 8 fl oz * 0.25 fl oz = 2 fl oz (plus an additional splash) of simple syrup for a 750mL bottle
Got it? The main thing you have to remember for batch making Old Fashioneds is that for a regular 750mL size bottle of whiskey, you have to add 2 fl oz (plus a splash) of simple syrup.
Oh, and as a reminder, this is a rule of thumb. Based on your tastes, you may need to add more simple (or maybe not add as much next time)… but in my experience this amount is a safe bet and the cocktails came out perfectly.
3. Add 32 dashes of Angostura bitters.
Again, directly in the bottle.
I feel like you have more flexibility here, depending on your taste. I added Angostura bitters and felt the cocktail was well-balanced. Start with at least 28, have a taste, and you can always add more if needed.
Done! Now, comes the important part: Drinking it.
How to prepare one Old Fashioned Cocktail directly from the bottle
1. Shake it up!
Hold down the cork top and shake the bottle well so the syrup and bitters mix in with the booze nicely.
Seriously. Give it a really good shake. Also, make sure to shake before each pour (and remind everyone at the party to do the same).
2. Pour over ice.
This is my little sample I made to taste the cocktail, but normally I’d use a Rocks glass.
I prefer the large block ice cubes or ice spheres because these do not melt as fast as regular, refrigerator-produced ice cubes, which means your cocktail will dilute more slowly.
3. Garnish with orange and lemon peel.
Take your orange peel (here’s how to cut one, if you’re not sure) and flex it (skin side towards the glass) so the oils are expressed onto the cocktail. Rub the peel along the rim of the glass and place it in the drink.
If you’re the host (or responsible for the cocktails during the party), batch making cocktails is a no-brainer.
Start with this easy Old Fashioned recipe and you won’t have to spend time making round after round for your thirsty friends. Just remind them to shake up the bottle, pour over ice, and garnish with a peel before enjoying!
Have you ever made a big batch of cocktails before?
What’s your favorite classic cocktail to drink?
Special thanks to my buddy Andrew who gave me the idea to batch make OFs and helped me figure out the measurements.