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The Best Big Batch Cocktail Recipes for Parties

A group of people toasting with their drinks at a party.

With the world trying mightily to return to normal, gatherings of some kind or another are becoming a real possibility. Should you elect to host some of your closest pals or neighbors (safely, of course), or just some people you haven’t seen in 18 months, you’d be wise to have some drinks at the ready. And the best way to entertain while taking the edge off is through the big batch cocktail.

Thomas Mizuno-Moore is the senior beverage manager at Aba, a Mediterranean restaurant based in Chicago with satellite spots in Austin and Miami. He knows the power of a good large-format cocktail and is responsible for the Shady Beach and Picnic Basket recipes, below. “There’s nothing worse than inviting a bunch of people over and then having to be the bartender all night,” he says. You can make a batch ahead of time and then relax and socialize with your guests.”

Doing it is a simple matter of ratios, really. But as Mizuno-Moore suggests, begin small and pay attention to more powerful ingredients. “Multiply a regular cocktail recipe by the number of total drinks you want to make and, voila, that’s the large format recipe,” he says. “Be careful when using bitter or spicy ingredients as those don’t scale linearly. My advice would be to start with half of what you think you need and then slowly increase until it tastes the way you want.”

At Aba, they call these larger batches groupies. Generally, they’re prepared to serve around 4-6 guests. Obviously, you can ratchet the ratios up depending on how many people you’re entertaining or how many rounds you plan to enjoy. Whatever the volume, remember to keep these things cool and fresh and be careful of icing down anything too early as it may dilute the drink.

Here are a handful of recipes to try out, whether you’re putting on a show for guests or simply want a nice stockpile to get you through the weekend.

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Shady Beach

Three glasses filled with Aba Shady Beach Cocktail.

Sweet, spicy, and tropical, this cocktail is too good for mere single-serving status. Go for style points by serving it from a good-looking thermos, punchbowl, or kettle.

  • 6 oz Grey Goose Essences Strawberry & Lemongrass Vodka
  • 4 oz pineapple juice
  • 3 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz Liber & Co. Fiery Ginger Syrup

Method: Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or carafe. Serve over crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and edible flower.

Pimm’s Punch

Pimm's cocktails in glasses and jugs.

So many complementary ingredients, so little time. This cocktail builds around the complexity of Pimm’s, a fruity and herbal concoction that Europeans rightly associate with summer sipping.

  • peels of 2 lemons, plus 2 lemons sliced into wheels
  • .25 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.5 cups cucumber wheels
  • .5 grapefruit, sliced into wheels
  • 1 orange, sliced into wheels
  • 16 oz Pimm’s No. 1
  • 4 oz orange juice
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 bottle Champagne
  • 6 strawberries, hulled and sliced

Method: Place the peels in a glass pitcher or bowl with the sugar (save the lemons for juicing). Muddle the peels until the sugar looks slightly moistened, then cover and let sit for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Add the lemon, cucumber, grapefruit, and orange wheels, Pimm’s, orange juice, and lemon juice. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Cognac Fleur De Lis

Fleur De Lis Cocktail in a cocktail decanter.

This Cognac-centered option makes about 4-6 servings. We like the bubbles imparted by the Prosecco, along with floral components, and lift the spirit to new heights.

  • 750 ml D’usse VSOP Cognac
  • 20 oz St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 12 oz simple syrup
  • 20 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 750 ml Martini & Rossi Prosecco

Method: Add all ingredients into a punch bowl and add ice. Stir until well mixed, and top with lemon wheels and edible flowers. 

Tiki Punch

A glass of pineapple Tiki style cocktail.

This classic Tiki Cocktail is forever, especially when you need a mental getaway. This simple punch is tropical and refreshing, just like an ocean breeze during the heat of the day.

  • 1 bottle of vodka, such as Seagram’s
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups lime juice
  • 1 cup mint simple syrup
  • mint leaves, lime wheels, and pineapple slices for garnish

Method: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and top with ice. Stir to mix and serve with garnishes over ice.

Picnic Basket

Three glasses of pink Picnic Basket Cocktail on a table.

The color alone of this cocktail will have you begging for seconds and thirds. The flavors are equally enchanting, conjuring up the best summer memories and married together nicely by way of bourbon.

  • 9 oz Jim Beam
  • 3 oz Giffard Passionfruit Liqueur
  • 4.5 lemon juice
  • 6 oz watermelon-strawberry juice
  • Prosecco and strawberries for topping and garnish

Method: Mix all ingredients into a shaker, shake well. Top with Prosecco, garnish with lemon wheels and mint or fresh strawberries, mint, and a twist of black pepper.

Cosmo Punch

Glasses of cosmopolitan cocktail.

This riff on the Cosmopolitan is fun and summer-approved. If you’re feeling experimental, try pomegranate in place of cranberry or a fruit liqueur (like nectarine) in place of Triple Sec.

  • 2 parts Moscato
  • 2 parts ginger ale
  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part frozen pink lemonade
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • .5 part Triple Sec

Method: Mix all ingredients and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with a citrus wheel.

Little Bit Bittah

A glass of Picnic Basket Cocktail with grapefruit,

The lovely interplay of Campari and grapefruit make this drink sing. That, and the smoothness imparted by a good vodka.

  • 12 parts vodka
  • 9 parts grapefruit juice
  • 3 part grenadine
  • 3 part Campari

Method: Combine all ingredients. Shake and strain into an iced rocks glass to serve. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

Cajun Lemonade

A glass of Cajun Lemonade.

We love French Cajun cuisine. We also love a refreshing drink to wash down some of the spice and complexity and this spin on the lemonade does just that.

Method: Stir together the first 4 ingredients in a pitcher. Add club soda just before serving. Pour mixture into 8 highball glasses filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lemon slices and sugarcane.

Read more: Best Rums for Mixing

Chloe’s Peach Punch

A glass of Chloe's Peach Punch Cocktail.

Here, the fruity nature of Pinot Grigio is backed up by the candy-like sweetness of fresh peach and the heat and buzz of a bit of rum.

  • 4 parts Chloe Pinot Grigio
  • 1 part white rum
  • 2 parts peach nectar
  • sliced peaches for garnish

Method: In a mixing glass, add ice, wine, white rum, and peach nectar. Stir to combine. Strain into a glass and garnish with a sliced peach.

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