When you’re entertaining guests, you can save yourself time by pre-mixing a pitcher of cocktails. This is simple to do – just follow the tips below.
Premixing a pitcher of cocktails
You can pre-mix a pitcher of cocktails up to a week before your party, as long as you don’t add ice until you’re ready to serve:
- Know how many drinks you expect to serve while entertaining. If your guests are friends and you have an idea how much they drink, that’s simple. If you’re not sure, a good rule of thumb is to figure each guest will drink the equivalent of four one-jigger drinks. That means 6 ounces of your main spirit per guest.
- Now that you know how many drinks you need to make in advance, you can determine how large a pitcher (or how many pitchers) you need to premix. We’ll get to this in a minute.
- Do the math to multiply your ingredients, and pour them into the pitcher. Or use the trick below to skip the math altogether.
- Leave out ice until you’re ready to serve, or it’ll dilute the mix.
- Leave out carbonated ingredients like 7-up, or they’ll go flat.
- Once you’ve premixed your pitcher, cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator.
Multiplying Measurements without Math
If you want to multiply to ingredient amounts, you can use a calculator to work out (for examples) just how many jiggers of an ingredient you need, and then use Google to convert the jiggers into ounces or cups. Just put (again, for example) “15 jiggers in cups” into Google, and it gives you the answer immediately. The only problem is, many of the measurements will have to be rounded. 15 jiggers equals 2.8125 cups, which isn’t exactly an amount that’s marked on your measuring cup. You can guesstimate this.
Or, unless you’re premixing dozens of drinks, there’s an easier way to do it (especially if you’re a math-o-phobe) and get the amounts just right so the flavor is always perfect: mix one drink at a time, and pour each drink into your pitcher until the pitcher is full or you’ve made the amount of drinks you need. Because this is just a matter of measuring and pouring, it’s still quick and easy (for some of us, much quicker and easier than doing the math).
Serving Your Premixed Cocktails
Once your guests arrive, serving is quick and easy. If your drink calls for nothing but the premix, all you need to do is pour. If it requires stirring or shaking or adding carbonated ingredients, you can do that one drink at a time. One last suggestion:
Serve in chilled glasses
If your cocktail doesn’t need to be served on the rocks, the combination of a refrigerated premix and the chilled glasses will keep drinks cooler longer – without any ice to dilute them. If a guest takes a long time with one drink and you suspect it’s become room temperature, bring the guest another chilled glass to pour the remainder into, then fill that glass with more of the premix. This is a very impressive hosting. There are several ways to keep glasses chilled.
- Put them in the fridge for 3-4 hours. This is great for the first round of drinks, but unless you have lots of glasses and room in the fridge for all of them, you won’t be able to chill re-used glasses in time. So for the rest of the night…
- Wash your guest’s used glasses quickly, then put them in an ice bucket. This chills them very well within 15-30 minutes, so they’ll be ready for the next round of refills.
- Quick & dirty backup plan: fill a room temperature glass with crushed ice and swirl it around until it feels very cool. Dump the ice out and pour the drink.