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Cocktails good for pitchers, BBQ

I'm hosting a big event/BBQ for 175 guests. Hoping to do it pitcher-style since we'll have just 2 bartenders.
We'd like to have 2 signature cocktails on hand, one sweet, the other not too sweet.
Any ideas? Inexpensive ingredients would be a plus. It should also go well with BBQ.
Thanks!!

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  1. How about margaritas? I've made a thermos full for tailgating and it went over well. I like the 3:2:1 ratio for tequila, triple sec, and lime. You can also sweeten it with a little simple syrup or agave nectar. Might not be so inexpensive since tequila can be pricey, but a silver 1800 or cazadores shouldn't break the bank.

    Sangria and mojitos are an option. Maybe something like a Planter's Punch or Lynchburg Lemonade? I think Manhattan's make a nice pitcher drink since there is no soda or anything that will go flat, but it tends to be a cold weather drink for me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ali G

      I love Manhattan's, but they would get everyone wasted!!!
      Margaritas are good (but not really sweet)
      I'm going to hate saying this...but how about Cosmopolitans...I know someone is going to say they are so 5 years ago but women like them, and they are easy to make.
      I trust you are also going to have wine and beer?

    2. One that I adore lately (and is likely going to be the signature cocktail this year here at the Casa de Jester) is the Lei Lani Volcano, a drink created in the 1970s at the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World. It's light and refreshing, and a very alluring shade of pink thanks to the use of guava nectar. It is a tad on the sweet side, but I've never heard anyone complain. Well, at least not until the pitcher runs dry.

      3 oz guava nectar (Look for Jumex wherever Hispanic groceries are sold; around here I find it next to the Gatorade at Wal-Mart. Kern's can also be used but it's more expensive and has the dread HFCS)
      1.5 oz pineapple juice
      .75 oz lime juice (Fresh squeezed. I don't care how many you're making, SQUEEZE THE LIMES. Bottled lime juice is an abomination)
      .25 oz simple syrup
      1.5 oz coconut rum (Cruzan is best, it tastes of coconut; Malibu is weaker and tastes like suntan lotion)
      Shake well with ice cubes and serve in coconut shells or tall glasses.

      For 16 drinks:
      4 cans guava nectar
      3 cups pineapple juice
      1.5 cups lime juice
      1/2 cup simple syrup
      1 750 ml bottle coconut rum

      I'd dispense with the shaking and just pour it over ice. If you wish to have the drinks chilled in advance, add a scant quart of water to the quantity recipe to compensate for the ice that melts during drink shaking.

      If you're making enough for everyone to have one (and when the rule of thumb is 2 drinks per person at the party, you should make enough for everyone to have one of each), you're going to make 11 of those batches. Might as well just round it up to 12 and enjoy the leftovers the next day:

      2 cases canned guava nectar
      2 gallons plus 1 quart pineapple
      1 gallon plus 1 pint lime juice (Yes, about 150 limes. Get over it.)
      6 cups simple syrup
      1 case coconut rum

      3 Replies
      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        be aware that coconut rum is usually around half the proof of rum - 40-50 proof, not 80 or more

        1. re: thew

          Cruzan is 55 proof, while Malibu is a mere 42. Like I said, light and refreshing ;) I've been thinking about figuring out good proportions to use with light rum and Coco Lopez. I'm thinking of doing 1.5 ounces of rum, .5 ounce Coco Lopez, and omitting the simple syrup from the original recipe as a start.

        2. Thanks! These are great ideas. I was originally thinking of doing a spicy grapefruit margarita...and I'm Ok with getting everyone wasted on Manhattans!
          :)

          1. If you're not shy about alcohol content, these have had a great response whenever I've made them:

            Ja Mon

            Ingredients:
            1 oz Cachaca
            1 oz Dark rum
            1/2 oz Aged rum
            1 t Nocino (walnut liqueur)
            3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
            3/4 oz Lime Juice
            3/4 oz Falernum
            4 ds Orange Bitters

            Garnish with orange slice or wedge.

            Feel free to substitute. For example, 1/2 tsp Allspice Dram would sub for the Nocino. Licor 43 could sub for the Falernum.

            Still, it would be a lot of squeezing. I'd invest in a counter top lever-style squeezer, I think.

            2 Replies
            1. re: EvergreenDan

              Very nice! Thanks. Nocino and Falernum are new ingredients to me. Is Ja Mon" a Jamaican drink?

              1. re: EvergreenDan

                I named it in honor of the circus guy at the Cancun Club Med who was from Jamaica. He said "Ja Mon" the way valley girls say "um, like". But in a good way.

              2. I would recommend a Bourbon Smash or Mint Julep. Julep is not quite as refreshing but they are both great summer drinks.

                If I were to do this in large qtys, I do a lot of prep before hand. Rather than mash/macerate the smash, make that a prep step of mint simple syrup and juicing lemons. Ditto with the julep. Mint as a garnish but rely on mint simple syrup for flavor to allow for quick assembly.

                You can use crushed ice with one or both to allow your guests to drink for longer per glass (ice melts, more to drink). It is amazing how long a Mint Julep can be sippable while it is melting away.

                When working with such large qty's you may do well to keep the in a chilled state rather than mixing in ice till serving.