We all know it’s true: Half the fun of summer is outdoor drinking. There’s no better feeling than a cold beer on the beach, or that first glass of rosé on the patio. But summer drinking should be simple drinking -- even a cocktail nerd like myself isn’t bringing a set of jiggers and shakers to the beach.
So what’s to be done, if you’re looking to up your summer cocktail game? Pre-batch. Spend a few minutes in the kitchen the morning before your party or beach trip; make a big batch of the cocktail, and stick it in the fridge; then just pour it out at the beach, zero effort required. This system works equally well for a picnic at the park, a backyard cookout, or wherever else you’re headed this summer.
A few principles for batching:
Get a good bottle. These recipes each make six cocktails, and a whole batch can fit in your average Nalgene. Use whatever container you like, just make sure it seals fully -- nothing worse than losing a cocktail batch in a sticky cooler mess. If you’ve got a pitcher that seals well, feel free to double the recipes.
Add a little water. When you shake a cocktail, you’re not just chilling it down; you’re melting a bit of ice, adding water to the drink, which helps the ingredients come together. Since you’re not shaking these drinks with ice, pouring in a little bit of water (we’ll tell ya how much) doesn’t give you weak or watery cocktails, just makes sure they’re at a drinkable proof. (Believe us, downing way-too-boozy piña coladas in the hot sun is not as fun as it sounds.)
Keep as cold as possible. Pouring cocktails over ice at the beach is pretty much mandatory. No one’s ever enjoyed a warm margarita. (Just grab a $2 bag of ice at the grocery store or bodega. If half of it melts at the beach, you’ve still got plenty.) If possible, chill your cocktail container, too. Store your pre-batched drinks in the refrigerator -- or for a quick chill, the freezer -- until you head out the door, then keep in a cooler with ice packs until you’re ready to drink.
Garnish is optional, but. Since you’re schlepping these things to the beach, we’ll say what bartenders rarely say: Garnishes aren’t required. But it takes three seconds to slice up a lime and toss it into a Ziploc, and how much cooler will your margaritas look?