We love fixing cocktails at home, but after a long, hard day sometimes we don’t have the energy to dig out the jigger, shaker and juicer. What’s a thirsty drinker to do? Fortunately, we’ve discovered a solution that we think you’ll like: homemade bottled cocktails.
These concoctions have become quite popular recently and can be ordered in bars around the country, but ready-made elixirs don’t have to be difficult to make. In fact, we’ve found a few simple recipes that you can whip up in minutes and store pretty much indefinitely.
One of the easiest is the Sandeman Royale. We heard about this tipple from Sandeman Port’s chairman, George Sandeman, during this year’s Tales of the Cocktail convention. All you do is open a bottle of port, pour yourself a glass to enjoy right away and refill the bottle with Scotch. Keep it in the freezer, and when you’re ready to serve, portion the Rob Roy-like drink into Martini glasses. (Sandeman himself invented the formula, but he says a bartender at London’s Lanesborough Hotel suggested the ingenious mix-in-the-bottle method.)
If you prefer spicy to sweet, try the Cajun Martini instead. It’s a blend of jalapeño-infused vodka and dry vermouth that’ll stay good for months. Liquor.com advisory board member David Wondrich shared the recipe with us, which was created by famed chef Paul Prudhomme at his New Orleans restaurant K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen and was a big hit in the 1980s.
For people of a certain age, cocktails in bottles might remind you of the Zima craze. You’re not alone: After bottling a Bourbon Lemonade, Baltimore bartender Nick Jones decided to recreate the citrusy ‘90s favorite (pictured above) and added it to the menu at Pabu, the sushi spot and izakaya whose bar he runs. It calls for Calpico, a tangy Japanese soft drink, which is appropriate as Japan is the only place on Earth where you can still buy Zima today. Cheers!
Contributed by George Sandeman
Pour out 5 ounces of the port and reserve for another use. Add the Scotch to the remaining port in the bottle, seal and shake lightly to combine. Store in the freezer. To serve, pour about 2.5 ounces of the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.
Contributed by David Wondrich
Pour out enough vodka (3 to 4 ounces) so that the jalapeño can fit in the bottle without making it overflow and reserve for another use. Place the jalapeño in the bottle and let stand for 8 hours. (Tie some thread or twine to the stem to make it easier to remove.) Remove the jalapeño from the bottle and refill with dry vermouth. Seal and shake lightly to combine. To serve, pour 2 to 3 ounces of the mixture into a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with your favorite pickled vegetable.
Contributed by Nick Jones
Add all the ingredients except the club soda to a mixing glass or bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the club soda and stir briefly. Pour into a 6-ounce glass bottle and seal with a swingtop stopper or crown cap. Serve chilled. (This recipe makes one serving but can easily be multiplied to fill multiple bottles.)
(Photo courtesy Tiffany Cianci and Pabu)