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Sip Sip Hooray! How to Make Bottled Cocktails

Homemade bottled cocktails are a ton of fun to make for summer picnics, backyard parties or even to give as gifts. Use these tips to get started bottling cocktails at home!

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

My college boyfriend and I used to make our own beer and wine and bottle them in our tiny little rundown apartment, which was more of a shack attached to the back of an old falling down frat house. (True story.) Making and bottling beer was something we loved doing, and while it’s not a hobby I’ve kept up, it was absolutely my initial inspiration for making my own bottled cocktails.

That old college apartment was where friends packed in tight to sit on a creaky metal futon and watch Project Runway each week. Where the winter cold seeped in through every crack possible and the pipes in the bathroom froze on a regular basis. It was truly a ramshackle little place, but it was also a place where some of my life’s greatest and fondest memories were made.

That apartment is where I really learned how to cook. Where we learned how knead bread, roll pizza dough and bake the world’s most perfect chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. It’s where I began my tradition of baking signature birthday cakes for all of my best friends. And it’s where I started to learn something about cocktails beyond whatever the cheapest special was at the local college haunt that night.

All of which is to say, for me, making bottled cocktails feels a touch whimsical and nostalgic, but in truth it’s also super practical! I love bottling cocktails for parties, camping trips, dinner parties, summer picnics, and backyard shindigs around a campfire. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s a total novelty when friends show up to the festivities to be greeted by bottled cocktails!

To Make Bottled Cocktails, You Will Need:

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    • Single serve clear glass bottles – These bottles can be washed and reused over and over
    • Crown bottle caps – Buy extra so you can make several batches of cocktails before having to replenish
    • Crown capper – You need a capper to seal the caps onto the bottles
    • Small funnel – This will help you from making a huge mess while pouring 
    • Spirits + mixers – See below for my thoughts and tips on choosing cocktails to bottle

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

Purchasing the supplies to bottle your own cocktails can be a little bit of investment on the front end, but on the upside – you’ll have the bottles and the crown capper pretty much indefinitely! I have used my crown capper and reused these same glass bottles many many times. Naturally the bottle caps will need to be replenished now and again, but they’re pretty inexpensive. 

How to Make Bottled Cocktails

How to Make Bottled Cocktails:

1. Once you have all your supplies, step one is to wash your bottles very well in hot water and let them dry completely before filling them up.

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

2. For each of your bottles, you’ll want to use a small funnel to first add your spirit of choice. The bottles on the smaller side so one to two ounces of alcohol is about all I’d add to avoid a drink that’s overly strong and imbalanced in flavor.

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

3. You can then top the bottle nearly to the top with your mixer or mixers of choice without necessarily having to measure anything further. If you are adding bitters or anything of the like, it will be easiest to skip the funnel and add a shake or two directly into the bottle.

How to Make Bottled Cocktails

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

4. Next up, it’s time to cap your bottles! You’ll need the crown capper for this, which is really easy to use. Just place a cap on top of each bottle, center the capper over top of it (it’s magnetic so it will hold the cap in place) and then push the handles downward.

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

It takes a little bit of elbow grease to get the job done, but overall it’s a very simple process. It takes just a few seconds to cap each bottle so you can do up a whole bunch in fairly short order. I usually fill all the bottles first, then quickly cap them all off, or you can set up an assembly line with a buddy and do it the same way.

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

What Mixed Drinks Make Good Bottled Cocktails:

There are no real rules as to what kinds of cocktails can be bottled. Whatever your favorite is will probably work great! Here are a few suggestions for the kinds of bottled cocktails you may like to make.

  • Jameson and ginger
  • Gin and tonic
  • Vodka cranberry
  • Jack and Coke
  • Manhattan
  • Negroni
  • Margaritas
  • Sangria
  • Martinis
  • Dirty Shirley
  • Spiked Arnold Palmers
  • Screwdriver
  • Moscow Mule
  • Mojitos
  • Bloody Mary (with garnishes served on the side)
  • Limoncello
  • Whiskey or amaretto sours

Tip: Cocktails you might traditionally make in a pitcher (such as margaritas, sangria or even mojitos) can easily be made in a large pitcher and then poured into your bottles versus mixing them individually in each bottle.

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

 

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

 

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

How Long Will Bottled Cocktails Last?

Regarding ingredients and refrigeration, I usually feel very comfortable not refrigerating cocktails that include ingredients that don’t individually require refrigeration. So, such as Jameson and gingers. The ginger ale is totally shelf stable for a minimum of several days, so I don’t worry about those.

If you are using juices or citrus-based ingredients that would generally need to be refrigerated, I would tuck those in the fridge when you’re done bottling. Generally all bottled cocktails should keep for a week or more when refrigerated so it’s not problem to make them in advance for a party or special occasion if you don’t plan to drink them right away.

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

How to Serve or Gift Bottled Cocktails:

For gifting, which is a super cool idea and one I highly suggest – a cool wooden crate or a canvas tote bag loaded up with bottles and the appropriate garnish (and maybe a cool bottle opener) would make an awesome gift. Think Father’s Day, bachelor parties, birthdays, job offers or house warming parties!

For serving at a party, a galvanized tub full of ice and bottles is easy and fun. You can have glasses stacked off to the side and a scooper for ice and trays or bowls with any relevant garnishes such as lemons, limes, or celery for Bloody Marys.

How to Make Bottled Cocktails | Summer cocktail recipes, entertaining tips, summer party ideas and more from @cydconverse

Looking for More Great Cocktail Recipes to Try?

How to Make Bottled Cocktails

[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson.]

How to Make Bottled Cocktails

How to Make Bottled Cocktails

Yield: 12 bottled cocktails
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner

Homemade bottled cocktails are a ton of fun to make for summer picnics, backyard parties or even to give as gifts. Use these tips to get started bottling cocktails at home!

Materials

  • Single serve clear glass bottles – These bottles can be washed and reused over and over
  • Crown bottle caps – Buy extra so you can make several batches of cocktails before having to replenish
  • Spirits + mixers

Tools

  • Crown capper – You need a capper to seal the caps onto the bottles
  • Small funnel – This will help you from making a huge mess while pouring

Instructions

    1. Once you have all your supplies, step one is to wash your bottles very well in hot water and let them dry completely before filling them up.
    2. For each of your bottles, you’ll want to use a small funnel to first add your spirit of choice. The bottles on the smaller side so one to two ounces of alcohol is about all I’d add to avoid a drink that’s overly strong and imbalanced in flavor.
    3. You can then top the bottle nearly to the top with your mixer or mixers of choice without necessarily having to measure anything further. If you are adding bitters or anything of the like, it will be easiest to skip the funnel and add a shake or two directly into the bottle.
    4. Next up, it’s time to cap your bottles! You’ll need the crown capper for this, which is really easy to use. Just place a cap on top of each bottle, center the capper over top of it (it’s magnetic so it will hold the cap in place) and then push the handles downward.

Notes

It takes a little bit of elbow grease to get the job done, but overall it’s a very simple process. It takes just a few seconds to cap each bottle so you can do up a whole bunch in fairly short order. I usually fill all the bottles first, then quickly cap them all off, or you can set up an assembly line with a buddy and do it the same way.

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Matt Taylor

Thursday 28th of May 2020

This is so cool! I don't drink alcohol but can easily do this with other non-alcoholic beverages. :) Thanks!

Cyd Converse

Friday 29th of May 2020

Yes! So true, Matt. This would be fun with any kind of soda or infused waters, too.

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