Easy Big Batch Cocktail Recipes & Tips for Summer
Words Amalia Safran
Summer weekends with family and friends, whether in your backyard or at the beach, go hand in hand with big-batch cocktails. It also helps that there’s an abundance of fresh fruit this time of year that makes cocktail making even more fun and delicious.
Impress your friends with these batch cocktail tips and recipes from Joe Ignelzi, who has mixed drinks at New York City’s best bars.
Dilution is the Enemy
When making large batch cocktails, you want to make sure that you add in enough water so that the drink isn’t too strong, but not too much that it’s completely watered down. About a quarter of the overall volume should consist of water.
Keep it Cool
Since your drink is already diluted and no one likes lukewarm beverages, it’s important to keep it cool, so don’t forget the ice cubes. That’s also why we’ve enlisted our friends at Hydro Flask. Their stainless steel Growler keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours, which is plenty of time for camping/beaching/picnicking or any other outdoor activity.
What’s the Occasion?
Once you establish the occasion for making batch cocktails, you can then pick your ingredients. If it’s the peak of summer, think about local ingredients (peaches, strawberries, rhubarb). If it’s a themed party, pick ingredients that are fitting—having a luau? Incorporate rum! Going for a garden theme? Use fresh herbs such as mint and basil.
Convenience is Key
You don’t want to have to carry around 4 or 5 extra bottles of soda or ginger ale just to finish the drink (you did enough work preparing the drink, now is supposed to be the fun time, drinking it!). So, choose cocktails that you can just pour from the growler and they’re ready to go.
All of the drink recipes below are for 64 oz. For best results, use fresh juice.
Jungle Bird Punch Recipe
A tiki classic that’s perfect for summer. It’s great frozen or chilled.
15.25 oz rum (blackstrap rum or a dark rum)
7.5 oz Campari
5 oz simple syrup
15.25 oz pineapple juice
5 oz lime
16 oz water
It’s simple—just add all ingredients to your growler and head out!
Peach Mule Recipe
A nice variation on a Mule, this cocktail uses peaches for a taste of summer.
24 oz blanco tequila
16 oz peach ginger syrup (see below for recipe)
8 oz lime juice (freshly squeezed works best)
16 dashes grapefruit bitters (optional. It rounds the drink out nicely but not necessary for the drink to taste great!)
16 oz water
Peach Ginger Syrup:
- Cut peaches in half and roast on a pan in oven at 400F for 15 mins.
- Take out peaches and crush. A potato masher will make quick work of it.
- Combine crushed peaches with 2/3 cup grated ginger and 1 cup sugar.
- Add peach, sugar, ginger mixture to 2 cups water on stovetop and boil.
- Once boiling, bring heat down to low and let simmer until all sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. About 15-20 mins.
- Let cool, strain out solids and bottle.
Rhubarb Strawberry Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipe
A super fruity drink that’s great frozen or chilled.
14.75 oz honey rosemary syrup
14.75 oz strawberry purée
7.5 oz rhubarb shrub
11 oz lemon juice
16 oz water
Ingredients for Honey Rosemary Syrup:
2 cups honey
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
Instructions for Honey Rosemary Syrup:
- Boil all ingredients until honey is dissolved and let cool to room temperature.
- Strain out rosemary and bottle.
Ingredients for Rhubarb Shrub:
1 pound rhubarb, diced up
3/4 cup sugar
Instructions for Rhubarb Shrub:
- Add sugar and diced rhubarb and let sit for 1-2 days in refrigerator.
- Strain out rhubarb and combine with 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar.
- Bottle, shake, and refrigerate.
More about Joe: Joe Ignelzi has worked in everything from Irish pubs, to late night cocktail lounges and fine dining restaurants, including Irish Times, Grape and Vine at the Jade Hotel, Harvey at The Williamsburg Hotel, and The Garden Bar at South Street Seaport. This time of year his favorite drinks are tiki drinks, anything with rhubarb, and if he’s not getting fancy, good tequila with some fresh lime juice.