Why do bartenders dread holiday parties? Because if you're skilled with jiggers and shakers, any smart host is going to put you to work. This is what happened to Chaim Dauermann, the head bartender of NYC’s The Up & Up, until he devised a strategy. Now he arrives at parties with a premade batch of cocktails in a repurposed wine bottle, all chilled down and ready to go. It's a brilliant solution: The partygoers get great drinks, and he gets to be a mixology MVP without putting in unpaid overtime.
His portable party saver is the inspiration for a whole section of The Up & Up's cocktail menu. Dauermann offers three large-format bottled cocktails, including a martini, which he serves tableside in a bucket of ice with chilled coupes and lemon twists. Here, GIF-by-GIF instructions for mixing your own bottle of make-ahead martini.
The Carlson Martini
Recipe from Laura Carlson, Cocktail Queen at Contra
Step 1: Pour 3/8 ounce Regan’s Orange Bitters into a pitcher.
Step 2: Add 6 ounces Dolin Blanc vermouth.
Step 3: Add 12 ounces gin (Dauermann likes St. George Terroir).
Step 4: At this point in martini-making, you would typically add ice to chill down and slightly dilute the cocktail. That’s not necessary when you’re chilling the cocktail down in the refrigerator. Instead, Dauermann adds six ounces of water to dilute the cocktail the right amount.
Step 5: Stir the ingredients together and funnel into a 750 ml bottle (a wine bottle will work perfectly). Cork the bottle and chill in the fridge.
Step 6: When the party kicks off, take the bottle out of the fridge and pour into a chilled coupe. Tip: You can chill glasses down in the fridge ahead of time or fill large rocks glasses with crushed ice and place the coupes upside-down on top of the ice. Garnish with a twist of lemon and serve.