Order a stirred cocktail like a Manhattan or Martini at a bar, and the overwhelming likelihood is that the bartender will be quick to pour the ingredients into a cocktail mixing glass, top it with a large scoop of cracked ice, and stir it with a long-handled barspoon before straining it into a chilled glass. Speed and precision are the hallmarks of a good bartender, and beyond efficiency, it can also be an impressive thing to watch.
But sometimes even the most efficient of bartenders can’t keep up with the demands of a busy rush. Other times, a bar team might need to dial in its consistency on a particular drink. Or, for home bartenders and party hosts, sometimes you don’t want to spend the entire evening in the bar or kitchen, painstakingly mixing up drinks and invariably running out of ice.
In any case, the answer is premixing and pre-diluting a large batch of cocktails. Once seen as something to be looked down upon, it’s now an accepted style of bartending for its consistency, speed, and quality assurances. Once the batch is mixed and chilled, all you need to do is pour it into a glass, which makes it a wise idea for anyone hosting a party.
Laura Newman, the beverage director at Queen’s Park in Birmingham, Alabama, contributed this large-format version of a Red Hook cocktail. A variation on the classic Manhattan, the Red Hook offers drinkers a bit of extra complexity with the addition of cherry liqueur; in this recipe, Newman opts for Luxardo, easily the most established brand of maraschino liqueur, immediately recognizable by its wicker wrapping. She also calls for Rittenhouse Rye, an affordable, 100-proof, rye-forward whiskey. Both or either can be substituted for a similar product, but make sure to stick with rye rather than using bourbon, or else the drink can become too sweet.
The Large-Format Red Hook makes five servings—perfect for capping off a small dinner party or mixing on a Sunday evening. After batching and diluting, it needs to be chilled for at least 5 hours, so don’t make it at the last minute before a party. The nice thing is that the added water means it doesn’t need to be stirred over any ice—just pour into a chilled glass and serve.
- 10 ounces Rittenhouse rye
- 2 1/2 ounces Punt e Mes
- 1 1/4 ounces Luxardo maraschino
- 1 3/4 ounces water
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass and stir.
Pour into a large airtight container and refrigerate to chill.
To serve, pour into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.