Summer often means demand for many more tall drinks. Batching is one way to make certain that in busy times, when patios are open and customers arrive with hard to quench thirsts, drinks are served consistently from the first to the last.
What are the right steps? First, be sure to have the right tools. When batching mixes, assemble different size containers: large for mixing, smaller pourable ones for service. You will also need long spoons or paddles to stir batches thoroughly. Then, decide what gets included in your batch. Strong ingredients like herbs and bitters will increase in intensity when batched, so add these and ingredients like egg whites at service. Remember that fresh citrus oxidizes quickly, but fine straining can help delay the process, as will adding sugar.
Also important: be sure to measure every ingredient. When batching, base the final recipe on the volume needed per usage and container size. This may sound basic but running out of space when you’ve only mixed two of a three-ingredient batch could waste time as you scramble for new containers. Be especially aware of dilution as a recipe changes when dilution is calculated. To test this, make a standard drink and shake or stir. The liquid volume increase when the drink is made perfectly equals the correct amount of dilution.
Deciding which drinks to batch might be the hardest, as some popular drinks simply don’t batch well and are better off made to order. Cocktails that rely heavily on fresh herbs, bitters or are meant to be enjoyed at peak freshness should stay out of the gallon containers and be made per order by the bartenders. Always be sure to stir your batches frequently, perhaps even storing them in smaller containers that can be easily shaken during service. And finally, if your batching program works well operationally and profitably, consider draft cocktail programs, which can streamline issues of speed of service, consistency, and final drink quality.