Cocktails should be easy - nobody wants to play bartender at their own party. The best way to please yourself and your guests is by sticking with batched recipes that are simple and easy to make ahead of time.
Here are our favorite big batch cocktail recipes that can work for any number of parties, from bridal showers to birthday parties.
Recipe #1: Pear Ginger White Sangria
Source: Cake Knife
Sangria is a party favorite for all kinds of soirées.
It’s usually an easy recipe for the host to make and easy drinking for the guests, which is why it’s our #1 recommendation for a simple, make ahead cocktail.
This recipe adds a touch of sweetness with the pear balanced out by the zestiness of the ginger
Make ahead of time: Cut up the fruit the night before and store it in the fridge. To keep the pears from browning, try dipping them in a 50/50 solution of water and lemon juice.
Cut up the ginger at the last minute to keep it as fresh as possible
Pitcher recipe (6-8 servings)
1 (750ml) bottle of your favorite Riesling (or white wine)
3 pears, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 orange, cut into round slices
1 2-inch long piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup ginger brandy
Combine ingredients in a large pitcher and stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve (remember the longer it sits, the better it tastes). Fill the pitcher the rest of the way with ice when ready to serve.
Recipe #2: Strawberry Gin Smash
Source: The Kitchn
Smashes are traditional cocktails that typically feature mint, sugar, ice, and a spirit of your choice.
With the addition of fresh fruits, they’ve also become party favorites for a variety of events, from birthdays to backyard BBQs. This recipe features mint, strawberries, and gin, but you could easily swap out the mint for basil, change the strawberries to raspberries, switch the gin to vodka, and so on.
Make ahead of time: Cut up the fruit and squeeze the limes the night before.
You can also clean and trim your herbs ahead of time, just remember to wrap them in a wet paper towel and put them in a baggie or container to keep them fresh.
Pitcher recipe (8 servings)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
1 pound fresh strawberries
2 cups gin
3 cups club soda
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
Muddle the sugar and limes in a pitcher that holds at least 8 cups (64 ounces).
Set aside 6 to 8 small strawberries and make a small slice in their tips.
Hull and slice the remaining strawberries and muddle the slices lightly with the sugar and lime juice.
Stir in the gin and club soda and pack the pitcher full of ice. Add mint sprigs to garnish.
Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with a strawberry, slotted onto the edge of the glass.
Recipe #3: Big batch cosmos
Source: The Cookie Rookie
Thanks to Sex & the City, the cosmopolitan is the quintessential drink for a girl’s night or bachelorette party.
While the pink hue and fancy orange twist make this drink seem a little intimidating, the truth is, it’s a 5-ingredient drink that can be made in 5 minutes.
Make ahead of time: We recommend making this big batch cocktail the night before, as it will taste better and be fully chilled in time for your party.
Right before your party, quickly skin an orange or two (we recommend using a veggie peeler), so you have some fresh peels on hand.
Pitcher recipe (6 servings)
1 cup Citrus vodka Citroen, such as Ketel One
¾ cup Cointreau
½ cup cranberry juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
6 Orange zest twists 1 per cocktail
Stir all ingredients except orange peel into a large pitcher.
When ready to serve, add ice to a cocktail shaker and shake each serving before pouring into a martini glass.
Garnish with an orange peel or twist.
Recipe #4: Watermelon & cucumber mojitos
Source: The Girl on Bloor
There’s something about mojitos that just says, “let’s party!”
The playful vibe of this classic cocktail makes it the perfect drink for a picnic or pool party, and anything in between.
Similar to a smash recipe, mojitos are also incredibly versatile. If you have the foundational ingredients (spirits, mint, and sugar) you can really play around with the rest of the ingredients.
Make ahead of time: Puree and strain the watermelon and cucumber the night before. Remember to save some of the watermelon for garnish.
You can also juice the limes and prep your mint by cleaning and trimming it ahead of time (just make sure to wrap it in a wet paper towel and store it in the fridge to keep it fresh).
Pitcher recipe (serves 6-8)
1 seedless watermelon pureed
1/2 English cucumber pureed
2 limes juiced
1/2 cup mint muddled
8 oz vodka chilled
1 large bottle sparkling water chilled (I prefer PC brand, San Pellegrino or Perrier)
Using a blender or juicer, puree watermelon and cucumber together. Strain using a fine mesh sieve if using a blender to remove pulp and set juice aside (preferably in fridge to chill).
Juice limes, then muddle with mint using a wooden spoon or a muddler if you have one. Put the mixture in a shaker with ice and shake for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a large pitcher.
Add juice to large pitcher, then vodka and bottle of sparkling water.
Pour into glasses filled with ice and enjoy!
Recipe #5: Blood Orange Mimosas
Source: The Kitchn
If you’re hosting a bridal shower, baby shower, or brunch, you can’t go wrong with the classic mimosa.
You can use really any type of fruit juice (orange, passion fruit, mango etc.) but we like this blood orange recipe because of the dark red hue it produces
Make ahead of time: Juice the oranges into a pitcher and chill overnight. We also recommend chilling the prosecco.
Pitcher recipe (Serves 8)
10 to 12 blood oranges, juiced and strained, or 2 1/2 cups blood orange juice
1 (750-ml) bottle dry sparkling wine, such as Prosecco or Cava, chilled
8 to 10 pieces blood orange peel, removed with a vegetable peeler and twisted, for garnish
Pour the blood orange juice into a large pitcher and keep chilled until ready to serve.
Just before serving, pour in the chilled sparkling wine, and stir.
Serve immediately in coupe glasses or champagne flutes with the blood orange twists for garnish.
Recipe #6: Mint & rosemary lemonade (mocktail)
Source: Foolproof Living
For parties where you need a non-alcoholic drink (think baby showers or maybe a child’s birthday party), lemonade is a simple crowd-pleaser.
Liven up a classic lemonade with mint, rosemary, and touch of vanilla, for a fresh twist on a nostalgic drink.
While this drink is non-alcoholic, you can always leave some chilled vodka next to the pitcher or punch bowl, allowing guests to serve themselves, according to their preferences.
Make ahead of time: While this recipe is sure to please all palettes, the prep is a bit more involved (see below for full directions), so we recommend starting early (or doing it the night before), if possible.
Pitcher recipe (serves 6)
8 cups of cold water
8 large lemons, washed and cut in half
1 cup granulated sugar
10 sprigs of fresh mint
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped seeds
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Bring water to a boil in a large pot.
Squeeze lemons. Place the juice and the juiced lemon halves in a non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle it with the granulated sugar.
Add fresh mint, vanilla seeds, vanilla pod, and sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Once water is boiled, pour it over the lemons. Give it a stir.
Allow it to sit for 30 minutes on the kitchen counter to cool off.
Strain. Pour it into mason jars or a pitcher.
Place it in the fridge until ready to serve.
To serve, garnish it with fresh rosemary, slices of lemon, and fresh mint leaves.
What’s your favorite big batch cocktail?
We’d love to know more about your party and if you have a go-to cocktail that’s worked well for you in the past.
Feel free to share your recipes below!