Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Entertaining
How to Make Your Own Bottled Cocktails at Home

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The first time you were served a bottled cocktail you either balked at the bartender’s laziness or were amazed by its streamlined serviceability. Whatever you felt, though, you couldn’t argue with the results: With a pop of the cap, your Negroni was in your glass, seconds after you ordered it—and it was perfect. Bottling cocktails not only makes bartending easier, it also takes the chaos and guesswork out of mixing drinks.

Though they might seem trendy now, bottled cocktails certainly aren’t new. One of the first bottled cocktail recipes dates back to 1862 and can be found in Jerry Thomas’s revolutionary cocktail tome, How to Mix Drinks Or Bon Vivant's Companion. The appropriately named Thomas’ Bottle Cocktail was a variation on the traditional Brandy Crusta without the lemon juice or sugared rim.

Following in Thomas’s footsteps, the Heublein Company, started by brothers Gilbert and Louis Heublein, created a bottled cocktail empire. They started with bottled Manhattans and Martinis, which they sold at their father’s restaurant, and by the early 1900s, the company was selling 17 different bottled cocktails nationwide, including drinks like the Whiskey Sour and the Sidecar. The company’s tagline aptly described the beauty of bottled cocktails: “Always ready—always right.”

While the liquor industry is only just starting to once again produce and sell bottled cocktails, it’s easy to make them yourself at home. All you need are spirits, water, bottles, caps, a capper and a few tried and true recipes (we’ve got you covered there). Here, how to stock your fridge with bottled cocktails.

How to Bottle Cocktails at Home

Tools:
Funnel
Jigger
Bar spoon
Whisk
Pitcher or large mixing bowl
6-oz Champagne bottles
Crown caps
Bottle capper

Step 1
Batch the cocktail that you will be bottling. (See recipes below.) Reserve.

Step 2
Sanitize your bottles and caps in boiling water. Using tongs, remove the bottles and caps from the boiling water and set on a towel or rack to dry and cool.

Step 3
Once the bottles are cool to the touch, use a funnel to pour the cocktail into the bottles. Leave approximately 1 inch of space at the top.

Step 4
Using the capper and the bottle caps, cap each bottle.

Step 5
Label and date the bottle caps with a sharpie for identification purposes (things get confusing if you start bottling lots of different drinks).

Step 6
Store the drinks in the refrigerator until serving (we like to store our Martinis and Manhattans in the freezer so they’re ice cold). Then pop the caps, and serve when ready by pouring the cocktail into a glass or simply serving with a straw.

Here are three recipes that we recommend for your first batch of bottled cocktails. Each recipe makes 12 x 6-ounce bottles.

The Americano is one of the most perfectly balanced cocktails. It’s bitter, sweet and refreshingly effervescent. In Italy, Campari makes something called Campari Soda (essentially an Americano sans sweet vermouth) that can be purchased at the grocery store pre-mixed, bottled and in six-packs. Sadly, Americans have yet to catch on, and the product is currently unavailable stateside. Fortunately, it’s easy to make your own version of the bittersweet bottled cocktail at home. All you need are bottles, caps, a capper, soda water and booze. Now, fixing yourself an Americano is as easy as opening your fridge and grabbing a bottle.

The Essentials

Sweet Vermouth
Campari
Soda Water
There’s nothing quite as satisfying after a long day as an ice cold Martini. But making that perfect Martini can be a challenge. The cocktail is all about achieving the golden ratio of melted ice to booze, which requires patience and practice, right? Not anymore. Bottling your Martinis means you’ll not only have a freezer full of happy hour supplies, but also you’ll be able to engineer the ultimate Martini with just the right amount of dilution. Simply mix gin and vermouth in a bowl or pitcher (no stirring required), add just the right amount of water (we did that math for you, you’re welcome), bottle and freeze. All that’s left to do is relax and enjoy your drink.

The Essentials

Gin
Vermouth
Water
The next time you have friends or family over for brunch, skip the Mimosas and impress your guests with this bottled variation on the tiki classic. With molasses-heavy rum, smoky Sfumato amaro and richly fruity pineapple syrup, this tropical delight is the perfect summer sipper to have on hand. You can whip up a big batch of these bottled cocktails in an afternoon. Then, you’ll have a fridge full of rummy deliciousness, ready to drink at the flip of a bottle opener.

The Essentials

Blackstrap Rum
Amaro
Pineapple Syrup

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