How To Make Big Batch Cocktails Without Doing Any Math

Math wrath should never be involved in mixing drinks.
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So you’ve finally mastered the perfect Old-Fashioned recipe (or mojito, or Manhattan, or what have you). You make it for yourself with precision, immaculately balancing the flavors every time, and you revel in the satisfaction of feeling like a bona fide adult.

But what happens when it’s time to make that drink for several people at a party? There’s no way you’re going to spend the entire night at the bar, meticulously mixing one drink at a time.

That’s when you batch your cocktails, mixing them up in big pitchers that’ll serve eight to 10 people. But multiplying your drink recipe by the number of people at your party can get sloppy. Cocktail recipes are often formulated in fractions, calling for 3/4 ounce Cointreau here or an ounce and a half of vodka there. The math is frustrating, and it doesn’t always add up to something that can be easily executed with the measurements on the average jigger.

André and Tenaya Darlington, the sibling authors of the new cocktail book Booze & Vinyl, offer an easier solution, one that miraculously doesn’t involve any math:

Here’s a quick way to turn a recipe into eight servings: substitute ‘cups’ for ounces. You can apply this to any recipe. Simply measure the ingredients into a pitcher. Instead of shaking or stirring on ice, dilute the drink by adding 20 percent water. Chill well before serving.

Hold off on batching citrus drinks until right before guests arrive. Citrus juices lose their freshness quickly, especially when mixed with spirits, so to keep a pitcher of Margaritas zesty, batch out the spirits ahead of time. Then squeeze your citrus right before guests arrive.

It makes sense if you think about it, because there are 8 ounces in a cup.

Now you’re ready to mix up a big batch of cocktails. If you don’t know where to start, the Darlingtons shared their mojito recipe below. Feel free to make a single drink or use their trick and convert the ounces to cups for a big crowd.

Jason Varney


Born in Havana, Cuba ― although the date and origin are contested and it could be as old as the 1500s ― this classic cocktail gained popularity as a Hemingway favorite after World War II. It has gone on to become one of the most ordered drinks at bars, to the chagrin of many a tired muddler. Simple and refreshing, it is a great drink to serve at parties.

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 6 mint leaves, plus a sprig
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces club soda

In a rocks glass, muddle mint leaves with simple syrup. Add rum and lime juice. Stir. Fill the glass with ice and top with club soda. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup demerara sugar
  • 1 cup water

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine equal parts sugar and water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Cool. Transfer the liquid to a jar, seal well, and refrigerate for up to a month.

Reprinted with permission from Booze and Vinyl, 2018 by André Darlington and Tenaya Darlington, Running Press

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