Simple Small-Scale Batching
When most people talk about batching cocktails, they refer to batching at scale, making large-scale batches of cocktails that can be dispensed quickly to improve consistency and increase speed and efficiency.
There’s merit to this line of thought as whilst batching at scale may diminish some of the theatres of serve and service if you’re serving to table orders rather than to guests seated at the bar (and a lot of us currently are) this becomes a moot point.
Batching discussions rarely involve conversation around batching at a small scale. The process of batching individual cocktail serves or small-scale sharing cocktails can not only serve the same benefits of batching at a larger scale (consistency and speed & efficiency will still be improved) but can also serve to replace some of that lost theatre and add value through careful presentation tableside.
Let’s look at some examples…
Flying Grasshopper milk bottle serve
Creamy cocktails are challenging to batch on a large scale unless you know exactly how many you’re expecting to serve. In addition, the limited shelf stability of fresh dairy products means you may increase waste when batching these drinks on a large scale and end up with leftover cocktails you have to dispose of at the end of a shift.
Quick to prepare small-scale batches are possible though, and if the serve is chosen carefully, the batch of serves can be replenished during the shift if needed or converted to a ‘made to order serve’ when the batched examples run out.
Flying Grasshopper (single-serve)
6 oz. Miniature Glass Milk Bottle, Frozen coupe, or martini glass
Small serving slate or tray
1 oz. Ketel One Vodka
1 oz. White Crème de Cacao
1 oz. Green Crème de Menthe
3 oz. Single Cream
Chocolate mint thins
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake to mix, chill and dilute, strain into a mini milk bottle and serve on a small slate with a frozen coupe glass for the guest to pour for themselves at the table, add a selection of mint chocolate thins to the slate for garnish.
0.6 fl oz. per serve
Flying Grasshopper (10 pre-batched single serves)
10 x 7 oz. Miniature Glass Milk Bottle with screw top lid
8 1/2 oz. Ketel One Vodka
8 1/2 oz. White Crème de Cacao
8 1/2 oz. Green Crème de Menthe
25 oz. Single Cream
8 1/2 oz. Water
Chocolate mint thins to accompany each serve to order
Add all the ingredients to a jug and stir vigorously to mix, strain the mix equally into ten individual mini milk bottles using a funnel to avoid spillage, and seal each bottle with a screw cap. Add all the bottles to the refrigerator and leave until well chilled. To serve take a bottle from the refrigerator, shake briefly to mix the ingredients, and serve on a small slate with a frozen coupe or martini glass and a selection of mint chocolate thins.
0.8 fl. oz. per serve
The process of delivering a pre-prepared batched serve is very quick when compared to preparing an individual serve to order but when the pre-batched serves run out you can revert to made to order if needed to avoid wastage and maintain availability.
Pear & Maple Old-Fashioned
As this sharing serve for two is prepared directly in the serving bottle you can make up as many or as few bottles as you like in advance of service and simply remove from the refrigerator and garnish the serving glasses to order. When the pre-batched serves run out the serve can be prepared in a mixing glass to order by stirring over ice to chill and dilute and then straining into the bottle to serve. If you prepare it to order in this way the 50ml of water should be omitted as the melting ice during stirring will provide that portion of the serve.
Pear & Maple Old-Fashioned (sharing serve for two)
8 oz. Glass Bottle
2 x Old-Fashioned Glasses
3 oz. Ron Zacapa
1 1/2 oz. Pear Juice
1 oz. Maple syrup
4 dashes aromatic bitters
1 1/2 oz. Water
A pear fan for each glass
Add all the ingredients to a glass bottle, seal with a stopper or cork, and place it in the refrigerator. When ordered, remove from the refrigerator, shake the bottle to mix, and serve alongside two iced old-fashioned glasses each garnished with a pear fan.
0.6 fl. oz. (per individual serve)
1.2 fl. oz. (per bottled sharing serve)
Jam Jar Whisky Sour
Another simple solution for pre-batching individual serves is to use Jam Jars. The cocktail ingredients can be added to the jam jar in advance and stored in the refrigerator. When the cocktail is ordered, you simply add ice, shake to mix, garnish, and serve. Alternatively, you can label the jars accordingly (shake before opening), add ice, re-seal and instruct the guest to shake the cocktail themselves at the table adding a fun interactive element to the serve.
Jam Jar Whisky Sour
Jam Jar (with resealable lid)
1 1/2 oz. Johnnie Walker Black Label 12-Year-Old
1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. Sugar syrup
1 oz. Egg white or aquafaba or alternatively
2 dashes of foamer
Add all the ingredients to a jam jar, label appropriately (for example, add ice and shake before serving) and refrigerate. To serve, remove from the refrigerator, add ice, and either a) reseal and serve for the guest to shake at the table or shake to mix, garnish with a wedge of lemon and serve.
0.6 fl oz. per serve
When you think batching in the future, don’t just consider large batching at scale, consider the opportunity for small-scale batches, and the opportunity to not just increase speed and efficiency but to replace some of the theater lost when guests have to order to the table.
5 Key Takeaways
- Batching cocktails at small scale can help with consistency, speed & efficiency.
- Using batched cocktails can help to create a theatrical moment for your guests when serving at tables.
- Try to only batch the volume of each serve you expect to sell during one shift to avoid wastage.
- Pre-batching in vessels such as jam jars and bottles will allow for easy storage in the fridge.
- Be sure to account for dilution in your batched cocktails if you plan on serving straight-up