You Should Test Your Punch Bowl For Leaks Before Batching Cocktails

Batching a cocktail is a great way to prepare to host a large group of friends, but booze certainly isn't the cheapest thing you can bring to a party. Though batched drinks tend to require only a small amount of effort, they can call for a generous investment in ingredients, which means you want to make sure that you're not going to lose even a drop to an invisible leak in your punch bowl. (This is of particular importance if you found yours at a flea market or consignment shop — just because it looks water-tight doesn't mean it is, alas.)

Before you dive into the mixology process, test your punch bowl by filling it with water and allowing it to sit for a few minutes in your kitchen sink to ensure that it's free of cracks. To make the most of this method, it's especially helpful if you use a measuring cup to keep track of how many cups of liquid your punch bowl can hold. This will let you know if you have sufficient space to serve cocktails to all of your guests or if you need an additional bowl. 

Choosing shaken or stirred cocktails for batching

Just as there are rules for when to shake versus stir any cocktail, there are a couple different schools of thought on which drinks are best suited to batching. For the sake of simplicity, stirred cocktails are ideal – especially so you can avoid the biggest mistake made with batching cocktails. Choose booze-forward beverages including variations on the Manhattan, martini, and old-fashioned. Besides the widespread appeal of these classics, the argument in their favor is that they hold up well over time. Shaken drinks and highball cocktails, on the other hand, are more ephemeral — the bubbles in tonic water or champagne will dissipate, egg white foam will separate, and fresh juices may start to taste off.

When it comes to batching, there are, however, some advantages to shaken cocktails, such as daiquiris, sours, and margaritas. The main benefit is that these drinks tend to contain less alcohol, meaning that guests may be able to comfortably enjoy a second glass without becoming overly tipsy. If you do choose to follow Bond's lead and opt for "shaken, not stirred," the trick to maintain optimal taste and texture is to batch your cocktails closer to the start of the party, rather than the day before.

More tips for pre-party preparations

As you prepare to batch your cocktail, don't forget one of the most important — and time-sensitive — ingredients: ice. If you're making yours at home, rather than buying it at a supermarket, be sure to prepare plenty well in advance of the gathering so that the cubes are fully frozen to refresh (and not overly dilute) everyone's drinks. It's also a good idea to place a few pitchers of water in the fridge to chill so that guests can hydrate between sips.

Once you have beverages sorted, don't forget about snacks. If you've gone to all the effort of double-checking the security of your punch bowl and preparing a perfect paloma cocktail, you want to make sure to have the tastiest type of snack to pair with it. On the off chance that you do find a crack in your punch bowl, you can repurpose it into a container for salty bites, like chips, crispy chickpeas, or mixed nuts. You can also repurpose your bowl into a floral centerpiece for a table, use it to hold potpourri or create a festive display depending on the season or upcoming holiday.