Save Your Leftover Batched Cocktails in the Freezer

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A few weeks ago I got an Instagram message from an old regular of ours, who had some questions about making my famous Gallon of Margaritas recipe for Memorial Day. At one point in the conversation she said to me, and I quote: “Can I make a half batch of these because last year we had leftovers and I felt bad about dumping them in the sink

I was, to put it simply, ashamed that I’d never shared with the world one of the simplest drink hacks I have always used at home: I store leftover batched cocktails in the freezer. Sometimes for years.

When you have a batched cocktail like a gallon of margaritas, or leftover punch, you’re only dealing with a pretty small amount of perishable product. Think about it, that margarita recipe? Only a third of it is made up of fresh juice. And pretty much most of the remainder is alcohol – a natural preservative.

Now, this does come with one small caveat, and it’s more of a lifehack than a warning, but you’ve got to crank your freezer down to its coldest setting. The great news is that this is going to improve your life in all areas: your frozen food will last longer, your ice cubes are going to be colder and therefore able to chill a drink more efficiently, and now you’re never going to dump a perfectly delicious cocktail down the drain ever again. Cold freezers are the best freezers, believe me.

And let me give you one other selling point: When you defrost your frozen cocktail either in the fridge overnight or on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour, when it is ready to serve again you’re never going to be able to tell the difference. It simply has no discernible impact on the flavor of the drink, and anyone who tells you otherwise has never tried a fresh and a frozen drink side-by-side, or they’re completely full of shit.

In fact, when I’m batching cocktails I’ll often make a little extra and store them in two-person portions in my freezer. Just the other night I opened up a batch of mezcal margaritas from last summer and they were absolutely delicious.

So stop dumping drinks down the drain!

16 Replies to “Save Your Leftover Batched Cocktails in the Freezer”

  • Lindsey says:

    I made a glorious bowl of Mai Tai punch for my husband’s birthday and the damn philistines (our beloved family and friends) said it was too strong to drink! I used fresh squeeze lime juice, velvet falernum,, orange curaçao, and light and dark rums. Our freezer is a sad sack attached to our apt fridge, and if we crank it all our food freezes and is grody to the max. If the Mai Tai punch stays in the freezer, but doesn’t freeze, will it be drinkable in the foreseeable future?

  • Alex says:

    How would you recommend defrosting the cocktails? I stored about a litre of the almighty margarita batch in a glass jar, but it needs a good few hours on the counter until there’s enough liquid for even one or two drinks. Any tips on speeding up the process?

    • If you partially defrost it and pour off one or two cocktails you’re going to have some unbalanced drinks, as the ingredients will freeze and thaw at different rates. Leave the whole thing in the fridge overnight to defrost. Don’t heat it, don’t partially defrost it.

  • Hannu says:

    You can also put the cocktails straight to a blender from the freezer to make a slushie. Great for daiquiris and margaritas.

  • Joy S says:

    A, this is excellent to know! Extra-cold batch cocktails, here I come!

    B, I’m here because I found your St. Stephen’s Sour on Imbibe, and wondered what the story was on the name, if you’re interested in sharing (or if it’s in one of your books)!

  • Rosemary says:

    This is the perfect post to admit that I have a bottle of your famous eggnog recipe in my refrigerator from… maybe four years ago? possibly five? Now I’m afraid to drinking it, but if it’s fantastic I don’t want to toss it, so there it sits? What should I do?

    • Rosemary – we’ve kept eggnog refrigerated for many years and drank it successfully. The great thing about eggs and dairy is that it’s pretty easy to tell if they’ve gone bad. If it looks weird or smells weird, it’s weird. But the alcohol in my eggnog is enough to preserve even a bunch of perishable ingredients. If it looks and smells fine, take a sip!

  • Michelle says:

    This is a very useful tip if I ever need it. My last gallon of your margarita recipe was used within six hours!

  • Andy says:

    How long do you figure one could keep fat washed spirits? I made small match of bacon whiskey for Benton Old Fashioned but would make bigger batch if they’d keep for long in freezer

  • Jacob S says:

    🤙 duderino!

  • Cliff says:

    Awesome! Thank you!

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