Nothing marks a special occasion quite like an entire bottle of cocktail pre-made and ready to go! Bottled drinks are a great way of extending the shelf life of mixed drinks as well as enhancing precision and ease of service. It also means you can focus on the essential job of hosting instead of being knee-deep in prep.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that bottling cocktails were a new trend when they’ve been around as long as cocktail culture has.
A quick flick through Jerry Thomas 1862 Bartender’s Guide has plenty of recipes that are followed with the instructions ‘to bottle’. Such as this clarified milk punch:
Infuse the peel of fifteen lemons in a pint and a half of rum for forty-eight hours, add two quarts of cold water with three pints of rum, exclusive of the pint and a half; also, the juice of the lemons, with two quarts of boiling-hot milk, and one grated nutmeg; pour the milk on the above, and let it stand for twenty-four hours, covered close; add two pounds and a half of loaf-sugar; then strain it through a flannel bag till quite fine, and bottle it for use. It is fit to use as soon as bottled.
Other features such as the precursor to the Old Fashioned, the ‘Whiskey Cocktail’, were even batched and sold as provisions to the Union troops during the American Civil War.
Commercially, pre-made cocktails became popularised by Heublein restaurant of Hartford in Connecticut. After a cancelled party left huge batches of prepped cocktails untouched, the staff realised they were still good to drink days later. Inspired, they launched a small range in 1892 and by 1968 you could get any of their 17 classics, prepped and ready to drink.
Here’s a recipe that’s perfect as a gift or just to make life a little easier!
Bottled Christmas Old Fashioned
- 500ml Bourbon
- 200ml boiling water
- 75g demerara sugar
- 7g Christmas flavoured tea (whatever is your favourite flavour)
- 10ml Angostura bitters
Steep the tea in the hot water for 10 minutes.
Remove the tea and add the sugar. Stirring to dissolve.
Add bourbon & sugar.
To serve, pour 100ml into an ice-cold glass and enjoy!
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