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Batching cocktails is a brilliant technique for shortening ticket times, upselling elaborate cocktails, and optimizing performance and service speed. Check out how and why you should consider implementing batched options at your bar!

What is Batching Anyway?

Batching is a technique of combining ingredients for cocktails ahead of service. One can batch a complete recipe in a large volume, as is the case for barrel-aged cocktails, draft cocktails, high-volume bars and for any bar/restaurant that is looking to expedite service. Alternatively, one can opt for batching parts of cocktails. This is the option of choice when looking to shorten ticket times and contact points while maintaining a “full service, prepare all cocktails a la carte” model of bartending.

With this in mind, there are two ways to implement batching techniques in your bar program: offering multi-format cocktails for take-away and group-seating or batching your cocktails back-of-house to expedite service. Whichever you choose, depends on your establishment’s guest volume and what your guests are looking for in their experience. Let’s explore both of these options to determine which is the ideal fit for you!

Batching Complete Cocktails

First, let’s talk about batching complete cocktails and why it may be a good tactic to increase your establishment’s performance and profitability. Batching complete cocktails makes sense especially if you sell a high volume of specific cocktails and these cocktails are suited to be made in large quantities ahead of time. As an added benefit, pitchers or bottles of cocktails are an attractive option for groups, because they minimize the number of times servers have to interact with tables to offer refills and drink menus. Whether you’re offering bottled cocktails for to-go for groups, batching allows for faster service, consistency in serves, and leaves less waste. So, how can this come to life at your bar?

Batching Parts of Cocktails

Another style of cocktail-batching is more for speed of service than offering multi-format cocktails. Batching parts of cocktails combines certain ingredients that “go together” in addition to smoothing out the mechanical rhythms of the bartender’s workflow. It’s about rapid consolidations and thoughtful combinations to increase speed and natural flow of movement.

This might not seem like a lot, but if you start applying the concept and strategically implementing batching for speed, you will notice increased efficiency overall. After your top-selling cocktail is optimized for efficiency and pour-cost, start to look at your other popular menu items. Do some cocktails require the same combination of ingredients? Or do you have cocktails that involve 2-3 modifier liqueurs? It doesn’t have to happen overnight; maybe incorporate batching on a drink-by-drink basis. Decide what makes the most sense for your bar and try it in sections rather than trying to overhaul. Either way, you’ll be saving time and money by doing so!

Batching Watchouts

Now that you’ve learned the many benefits that batching can bring, you’re probably eager to implement these tactics at your establishment. To assist you with making this transition smoothly, see below for a few additional tips to keep in mind.

1. Do not include bitters in your large-format batches. Bitters tend to bloom and transform in flavor the longer they diffuse into a drink. Your chances of producing a consistent flavor in multiple liters of cocktails with bitters added to the mix decrease as time passes.

2. Do not batch egg whites. If your cocktail requires egg whites, it should be made a la carte and to order. Egg whites, once shaken and exposed to acids and alcohols don’t retain their texture and flavor.

3. Don’t over-batch. If you are unsure of the volume you could sell, batch a limited amount of fresh ingredients together and keep the spirits separate.

4. Leave the bubbles for later. We all know sparkling wine or soda goes flat if oxidized for too long. If your cocktail pitchers require sparkling, add it at the very end right before the pitcher goes to the table. Be sure to stir and incorporate! If you offer bottled cocktails for single-serve or take-away, make sure you know how long you have before the cocktails go flat in the bottle. Make enough to serve that day and make fresh for tomorrow if you can’t keep carbonation levels under control.

5. Batch for ease, not quantity. Bigger is not always better. For example, it doesn’t help to batch 4 of the 7 ingredients of the top-selling cocktail in a 1.5L bottle that has to be stored behind the bartender in a low-boy refrigerator. If you go about it this way, it may actually add more time and effort to the bartender’s plate. In this example, every time the bartender makes that drink, she has to turn around, bend over, open a refrigerator, pull out a giant bottle of liquid, pour a couple of ounces and turn around to return it to the refrigerator. Not too helpful, right? Instead, make smaller batches and keep them in a convenient location. Refill more often to keep fresh ingredients fresher and minimize waste.

Final Thoughts

Batching as a technique can diversify a menu while also offering fun and engaging experiences for guests. With trial and experimentation, a combination of all techniques mentioned in this article can provide creative solutions to unique and changing challenges in your establishment, while also saving you valuable time and money. If that’s not enough to sway you, just remember that batching is also a straightforward and effective method for increasing hygiene in service – which is an even more important factor now more than ever!

Try For Yourself!

Ketel One Rose Punch

6 oz Rosé Wine

12 oz. Ketel One Oranje Vodka

48 oz Watermelon Juice


Pre-batch and chill Ketel One Oranje vodka and watermelon juice then top with Rose wine when ready to serve. Serve in highball or rock glass over ice.

Garnish with watermelon and mint.

Makes 8-10 servings

Serve in pitchers for groups at brunch, or as a perfect summer take-away cocktail on hot days. Pair with a Watermelon & Feta Salad for a light and tasty bite.