Making Cocktails For a Group While Traveling

The entire Praxis team got together in Charleston for a few days of caffeine-fueled work last week. I was in charge of two meals and cocktails for our evening brainstorming sessions. I needed cocktails that:

  1. Are easy to make. Waiting for drinks is no fun.
  2. Have common ingredients that you can source at most liquor stores.
  3. Will appeal to 10 people with varying tastes.
  4. Are budget friendly (i.e. a few bottles that can make multiple cocktails).
  5. Don’t need a shaker or strainer.

Our rental house had rocks glasses and an ice machine, but no juicer, strainer, or shaker. I threw my favorite jigger in my bag right before I left, so I was covered there.

I went to the local liquor store and bought Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, Campari, simple syrup, and orange bitters.

With these ingredients, I could make:

I chose these cocktails is that they are all stirred, can be built in the glass, and suit a variety of tastes (bitter, sweet, complex). None of these cocktails need squeezed juices, which saved us time and energy.

When it came time to make drinks and do our marketing/branding brainstorm session, half of the crew wanted Old Fashioneds and half wanted Boulevardiers, three of whom had never had Campari before. Nothing makes me happier than introducing people to amaro for the first time!

I lined the glasses up on the table in two groups and built each drink right in the glass. For Old Fashioneds, I added bitters and simple syrup to each glass, filled the glasses with ice, then added bourbon and stirred. For the Boulevardiers, I added bitters to each glass, filled them with ice, added the vermouth, Campari, and bourbon, then stirred. A coworker helped me serve everyone at the same time so no one’s ice melted while they were waiting for someone else to have a drink. The whole process took less than five minutes.

Here we all are:

5 Barrel Aged Cocktail Recipes

One of the gifts I’m giving to a family member this Christmas is a 2L charred American Oak cocktail aging barrel.

Here are 5 cocktail recipe options I scaled up to 2L to go along with the barrel. All of these cocktails age very well. You can’t go wrong with any of them!

One thing to note about these recipes: I only age the liquor in the barrel. I add sugars/sweeteners and bitters directly to the glass before mixing in the aged liquor for two reasons: 1) Sugars don’t really mix in or age well, and they have a shorter shelf life. 2) Bitters don’t scale up linearly like the liquor does.

Tipple Tuesday: Rye Old Fashioned

Fall has arrived here in NY. With a cool breeze coming through the window as I write this, I can’t think of anything more fitting to imbibe than a rye old fashioned.

There are more variations of this drink than there are grains of sugar in it, but here is my favorite:

Rye Old Fashioned

Combine the simple syrup, bitters, and rye in a rocks glass and stir. Add the ice cube and garnish with an orange peel and a homemade maraschino cherry.

Rye Old FashionedRye Old Fashioned


Save this recipe card image to your iPhone and import it into the free Highball app.

Rye Old Fashioned recipe