Christmas cookies are cool, but cocktails are cooler. This tradition of batching out cocktails and passing them out like christmas cookies started when Matt was still a restaurant manager. He was missing his family around Christmas and wanted to do something fun for his work family and friends. Matt thought, “why not make a cocktail for everyone to enjoy while wrapping presents or making Christmas dinner.”
Santa's Little Helper was the cocktail that started the tradition. Named after The Simpson’s family dog, it was composed of Rye Whiskey, Drambuie, & Fernet Branca. Matt made (24) 4oz cocktails in wide mouth mason jars with hand drawn labels on each bottle and passed them out on Christmas Eve.
The following Christmas, Matt and I were a full fledged couple so we decided to make one together for our new combined friends and families. We passed them out as if they were Christmas cookies or Christmas cards with a message on each bottle. Year after year, we create a new signature recipe to bottle up. There was the Winter Warmer with an orange and clove infused whiskey. We made the Blue Christmas with a homemade blue curacao. Last year, it was the Rum Around with Cranberry Thyme. Each one has a special memory.
So, we’re sharing our tips and tricks so you can adopt this tradition for yourself! If you’re more of a bartender than a baker, make a round of batched cocktails instead of cookies.
The year of 2020 has been nothing but...bittersweet. From navigating a worldwide pandemic, postponing our wedding, and growing this business of ours, we found ourselves with more time on our hands. We were able to evaluate the things that were most important to us. So even though so much was taken away, we gained a lot in return. Our batched cocktail this year will be Bittersweet, a Negroni with Iconic Bitter Orange Tonic, Sweet Vermouth, Campari, and Gin.
Here’s how we are creating our cocktail and some tips to consider if you plan on making your own!
Start with choosing your vessel. We’ve done everything from mason jars, recycled 4oz bottles, or small wine bottles with a crown cap. Mason jars are going to be the easiest to find and they come in all shapes and sizes. This year, we’ll be using an 8oz mason jar but the options are endless. Check out this blog post to learn more about Tempe Brewers Connection and how to crown cap a bottle.
Pick the right recipe. We typically do a booze-forward cocktail without citrus so our friends and family don’t have to worry about refrigeration. A Negroni, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or Sidecar, are all great places to start.
Expand your recipe. This calls for a little bit of math. If you want our recipe for a batched Negroni, keep reading. We did the work for you. There’s also some good info on this blog post here. When figuring out the math, consider the size of your vessel. For example, we’re putting a 4oz cocktail in an 8oz jar to allow people to add ice directly to the glass.
Mix it up. Make your big batch of cocktails and divide them into your vessels.
Tag it. Depending on how creative you’d like to be, you can add a tag or create a special card to go along with your cocktail. We’ve learned that instructions on how to serve (and how strong they are) are all good things to tell your friends and family.
- Avoid a cocktail with citrus. It will put an expiration date on your cocktail.
- Check your math. Start with batches of 12-18 servings and make sure your mixing vessel is all big enough to hold the volume
- Don’t over think it and let the tradition develop over time! Every year is a chance to try something new.
- Recommended mixer flavors: Spiced Honey, Cranberry Thyme, and Bitter Orange Tonic.
Bittersweet Batched Negroni
Makes 18 4oz cocktails
- 3 cups Gin
- 1 ½ cup Bitter Orange Tonic
- 1 ½ cup campari
- 3 cups sweet vermouth
-Combine all ingredients in a mixing vessel that will hold 9 cups of liquid (or take it in rounds)
-Pour 4oz of cocktail into each mason jar
-Serve with a super cube with a few stirs to dilute. Garnish with an orange twist
I’m sure friends and family will love getting a homemade cocktail from you this bittersweet year. Give it a try and add your iconic spin to the recipe. We would love to hear how it works out so please share it with us!
And maybe you’re reading this thinking it’s a little too much for you. Check out our Holiday Gifting page to learn how to get cocktail mixers to all your friends and family this year! The Iconic team is here to help you cross everyone off your list!