Make Delicious Drinks Before the Party Starts

Sometimes it's hard to relax when you're the one throwing the party—which is why it's always good to have a few hosting tricks up your sleeve. Here, Gabe Richter, beverage director for GG's, in New York City's East Village, explains why putting down the cocktail shaker and making batches of your favorite drinks ahead of time is the go-to party move this summer.

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"When I host at home, I always make pitchers of drinks, because it's the fastest and easiest way to serve a bunch of people quickly," says Gabe Richter, partner and beverage director at GG's in New York City's East Village. "My guests spend less time waiting for a drink—and I spend less time fixing drinks for everyone."

Inside GG's, where New York-style pizza and small plates abound. Photograph courtesy of Henry Hargreaves
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Worried about losing points for not shaking to order? Don't be. Stellar pitchers of quality craft cocktails do exist—but you have to include 3–4 quality ingredients to really carry the drink. Richter has a few steadfast rules for you to follow if you're going to take his advice:

1. Choose one high-quality spirit per pitcher to prevent your batched cocktail from slipping into college party punch territory.

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2. Use freshly squeezed juices (this is non-negotiable).

3. If you want to layer more flavor into your drink, think about infusing the simple syrup instead of just adding more ingredients into the mix. "A couple of flavors that you can clearly taste in the drink will always beat out lots of ingredients getting muddled and lost among each other."

Read on to learn how to make these three delightful—and simple—concoctions. Photograph courtesy of GG's

While scaling your favorite cocktail recipe for a pitcher can be a straightforward adjustment, Richter suggests considering the style of drink. "Cocktails that are based on a 'sour' recipe—which combines spirits, citrus, and some type of sweetener—work really well, especially if you serve them on the rocks."

Serving these more fruit-forward cocktails on ice guarantees the right amount of dilution, whereas boozier stirred cocktails like martinis and old-fashioneds will suffer from sitting around, getting watered-down and warm. "I prefer to use more forgiving recipes like margaritas, gimlets, and daiquiris," says Richter.

Continue on for Richter's preferred summer pitcher recipes—for cucumber margaritas, grapefruit gimlets, and bourbon lemonades—which each serve five, and have garnered zero complaints from GG's loyal day-drinking crowd.

For more on GG's, see


Grapefruit Gimlet

10 ounces vodka

5 ounces fresh grapefruit juice

3 ounces fresh lime juice

3¾ ounces grapefruit syrup

  1. Stir ingredients in glass pitcher filled with ice until well combined and cold.

Make grapefruit syrup by peeling the skin off of two grapefruits with a vegetable peeler. Muddle peels in 1 cup granulated sugar. Add peels to 1 cup simmering water and stir until dissolved. Strain out peels, cool, and refrigerate for up to one week.


Cucumber Margarita

10 ounces silver 100% agave tequila, like El Jimador

5 ounces cucumber purée or juice

3¾ ounces simple syrup

3¾ ounces fresh lime juice

  1. Stir ingredients in glass pitcher filled with ice until well combined and cold.

Bourbon Lemonade

10 ounces bourbon

4 ounces fresh lemon juice

4 ounces honey syrup

8 ounces club soda

  1. Stir ingredients in glass pitcher filled with ice until well combined and cold.

Make honey syrup by combining 1 cup organic honey and ½ cup hot water. Stir until dissolved.

From: Seventeen
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