There is nothing I love quite as much as an icy adult beverage on a hot summer afternoon, preferably with sprinklers running nearby and some grilled burgers in my immediate future.
But I have to admit that while I enjoy sipping cocktails, I am an extremely lazy maker of cocktails. Gin and tonics are about as fancy as I typically get, people.
This is why I am a huge fan of Maggie Hoffman’s latest cocktail book, Batch Cocktails. It is full of make-ahead, big-batch cocktails for lazy souls such as myself.
WHAT IS A BATCH COCKTAIL?
A batch cocktail is one that can be made, assembled, and pitcher-ed (technical term) entirely, or almost entirely, ahead of time. This is extremely useful for party situations when you’d rather be mingling with your friends with a beverage in hand, instead of standing at the counter shaking cocktails for a line of thirsty guests.
It’s also useful if you’d like to make a batch of cocktails as part of your Sunday meal prep and keep it stashed in the fridge for nightcaps during the week. Maggie has a whole list of recipes in her book that are perfect for this.
For me, the idea of prepping big batch cocktails feels more approachable. I have all the ingredients laid out. I get any finicky (to me) steps like simple syrups and muddling fruits done all at once. And I’m not doing this work for the reward of only a single cocktail.
MAGGIE’S BRILLIANT COCKTAIL BOOK
In Maggie’s expert hands, batch cocktails are more than just pouring a few different liquors together in a pitcher. These are nuanced recipes with depth and pizzazz.
Some are spirit-forward, like a riff on the Manhattan called Happiness. Some will take advantage of your herb garden, like the tequila-based Garden Rambler. Others will introduce you to new liquors while wooing you with fruity flavors, like the Side Porch Sangria I’m sharing today.
Maggie interviewed dozens of top bartenders and mixologists around the country while putting together this book. These batch cocktails are all based on their favorite fancy cocktails, but accessible to those of us without mixology degrees.
LET’S TALK SANGRIA
Ok, this sangria. This is not your typical super-sweet and fruity sangria, my friends. This one is for those of us who like to live on the edge and try new things.
Here’s what’s in it: dry white wine, Aperol, Campari, Carpano Antico, apricot juice, and grapefruit juice. It’s a boozy combo with a bitter-sweet flavor that works so very well as a summer afternoon sipper.
Carpano Antica was a relatively new one for me. I’ve seen it on cocktail menus, but never done anything with it myself. This stuff is the bomb, and now I’m keeping it stocked in my fridge (like white wine, carpano should be kept refrigerated!).
It’s a vermouth that tastes like a wacky-but-perfect blend of bitter herbs, warm baking spices (think: cinnamon and clove), orange peel, and some licorice root. Throw some vanilla in there too, and you’ve got it about right.
This Carpano adds that “something special” to this sangria, but I’ve also been enjoying it on its own over ice!
P.S. Looking for a booze-free sangria? We’re also sharing Maggie’s Pomegranate-Citrus Sans-gria recipe!
Q&A WITH MAGGIE HOFFMAN
Maggie has been a friend of mine for years now, and I’m absolutely thrilled to share her book and this sangria recipe with you. Here’s a little Q&A I did with her that I thought you’d enjoy!
What’s the most recent cocktail you had, and what was in it?
I went on a big book tour for Batch Cocktails and got to taste a bunch of the cocktails from the book again—we had some really fun parties at bars in San Francisco, New York, Portland, and Seattle! One of my favorites to taste again was the Grand Prix, which is like an espresso-tonic, with a little Campari and grapefruit juice. It somehow tastes like chocolate-covered raspberries, and I am HERE FOR IT.
What recipe is best if you’re SUPER lazy? (aka me)
The Happiness [a riff on the Manhattan] is SO easy! You can keep a batch around for a few weeks, or make it without water and keep it for MONTHS and months. I have a year-old batch that’s still delicious. Thank you, former self, for making cocktails for me!
How many bottles of liquor do you have in your liquor collection right now?
I actually just counted because we are about to move back to NYC: 200. I’m going to have to get that down quite a bit before moving, though. Party at my house?
Favorite snack to serve with cocktails?
Salty marcona almonds are great, and aged cheeses. It depends a bit on what’s in the cocktail. A lot of these drinks are actually great brunch drinks, so then I’m really into breakfast tacos.