Ordering drinks at a bar on a Friday night can be a pain, especially when rolling with an entourage. Fortunately, large format cocktails are heating up. Below, a slew of bars and restaurants that bring more to the table than the standard punch bowl or Tiki drink. Think custom 750ml bottled cocktails, giant flasks and even a boozy proton pack.
Location: 208 W 4th Street, Austin, TX
Bartender: Trey Jenkins
Cocktail: Chi-Chi Bowl ($26) with vodka, rhum agricole, coconut cream, macadamia nut liqueur, pineapple juice, lime juice and Angostura bitters.
Extra points for glassware. Any decent Tiki bar has a Scorpion Bowl on its menu, but what about a seahorse Chi-Chi Bowl? One of two drinks listed in the brand-new Isla's "Family Drinks" section, this shareable cocktail is a potent Tiki-inspired mix.
Location: 1600 E 6th Street, Austin, TX
Bartender: Justin Elliott
Cocktail: The group cocktails ($25-$28), which are Spanish-inspired wine and soda combinations, come out in large carafes and there's even a flaming Tiki-style Scorpion Bowl ($35) to share.
Qui bar manager Justin Elliott doesn't call them large format cocktails, but rather "family-style" drinks, keeping in theme with Qui's "pulutan" dining menu (which roughly translates from Filipino to shareable "finger food.") Says Elliott, "There is a certain interactivity to the sharing of the drinks that I really, really cherish."
Location: 1566 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL
Bartender: Wade McElroy and Jeff Donahue
Cocktail: Spring Dandy ($28) with Leatherbee Gin, Giffard Pamplemousse, lemon, honey, Peychaud's Bitters and salt.
The Revel Room deals with its high-volume crowds on the weekends not only by serving up quality cocktails via taps, but presenting them in carafes which will easily placate a party of four or one very thirsty drinker.
Location: 116 W Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL
Bartender: Eric Hay
Cocktail: Tea Time for the Empress ($24 for two people or $48 for four) with litchi noir tea-infused Hendrick’s Gin, Lustau Fino Jarana Sherry, fresh lemon juice, housemade spiced ruby port syrup, and aromatic bitters.
Slurping Turtle takes tea time to the next level. 'The Tea Time for the Empress' arrives in a tea pot either serving two or four and comes with single ice cube-filled tea cups. To garnish the cocktail, pluck some dried chrysanthemum from the accompanying bird feeder.
Location: 1919 Washington Avenue Ste A, Houston, TX
Bartender: Alba Huerta
Cocktail: Bottled in Bond ($60 for four people) with bonded overproof bourbon, bonded overproof rye, two different Torino sweet vermouths, aged bitters and aromatic bitters.
For Julep owner/drink creator Alba Huerta's Manhattan-inspired cocktail Bottled in Bond, she mixes together the ingredients, then the cocktail rests in a Bormioli decanter for at least three days allowing the flavors to meld. When the drink it ready to be served, it arrives with large format ice as well as roasted and salted almonds, bourbon cherries, and Tcho chocolates.
Location: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
Bartender: Rose. Rabbit. Lie. mixology team
Cocktail: Various, including 1920 Cocktail ($35) with Redemption Rye, Rosso and dry vermouth, and orange bitters.
Don't expect the staid Vegas bottle service at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas' Rose. Rabbit. Lie. Instead, craft cocktails are prepared and served tableside in glass flasks along with custom ice and glassware. Flask cocktail offerings include a "Fresh & Fruity" seasonal milk punch (Denizen Rum, seasonal botanicals, clarified milk) in 250ml flasks or a "Stirred & Strong" El Presidente (Denizen Merchant's Reserve Rum, blanc vermouth, Orange Curaçao) in 500ml flasks. A server pours the first round, but the guests then take the party from there and are even allowed to take home the flask as a souvenir.
Location: 603 N. La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA
Bartender: Alex Straus
Cocktail: Pump Up the Jam ($75 for four) Ocho tequila, blue curacao, white tea infused Bianco vermouth, Giffard lychee, lime juice, kiwi juice.
This fun, user-friendly blue drink is served in a vintage Park Sherman cordial decanter aka "you pump it" container. "Its taste is very clearly apple seed, which is crazy because there's no apple," says cocktail creator Alex Straus. It's the perfect drink to enjoy on the rooftop of West Hollywood's new restaurant and lounge, E.P. + L.P., co-owned by Axwell of Swedish Mafia House. There's also the Knuckle Duster ($35)—8 glorious ounces of cocktail (vodka, fino, pineapple, lime, pandan leaf) presented in a heavy copper pineapple—for those who want to share with just one special someone.
Location: 705 W 9th Street, Los Angeles, CA
Bartender: Edwin Osegueda
Cocktail: Summer in Palawan ($125) with Absolut Elyx, St. George Basil Eau de Vie, fresh lime juice, fresh basil syrup and fresh calamansi syrup.
Since building The Summer in Palawan is an intensive process, it's Faith & Flower's only cocktail available in large format. And it won't be sold to groups smaller than six since it's a big drink with a ton of alcohol. The drink vessel will arrive at the table with a large chunk of ice, glassware, and a basil leaf garnish.
Location: 7321 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Bartender: Chris Amirault
Cocktail: Old Cuban ($45 for 750ml or $85 for 1.5L) with Bacardi 8, lime, mint syrup, and carbonated Chardonnay; and Slow Dance ($45 for 750ml) with St. Germain, Galliano, allspice dram, lemon, Angostura bitters and carbonated Chenin Blanc.
Harlowe’s large format drink service is served during lunch. Guests choose from two bottled cocktails which are carbonated to order so everyone enjoys fresh bubbles.
Location: 819 S Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA
Bartender: Mary Bartlett
Cocktail: Backpack Party ($150) rums, Noilly Prat Ambre, lemon, passion fruit, blue curaçao and seltzer.
Downtown bar Honeycut has lots of fun drinking options, like 750ml Champagne and bottled cocktails with colorful straws, to cater to entourages of 20-somethings. But it's all about the Backpack Party ($150), a literal party in the back where the buyer straps on a long glass tube filled with cocktail and ice. Then, via a long plastic nozzle, the wearer can dole out the drink to six to 20 friends. One wouldn't expect anything less from a bar with a Saturday Night Fever-type dance floor.
Location: 7746 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA
Bartender: Wil Figueroa
Cocktail: Made to order ($75 for 10).
This mid-century travel-themed bar in Los Angeles serves large format cocktails out of custom-made mini suitcases. One suitcase serves 10 drinkers and comes with a setup of glassware, fruit garnish, and a trough of cocktail. The bartenders will make any drink as long as the guest calls ahead first.
Location: 1601 Collins Avenue, Miami, FL
Bartender: Rob Ferrara
Cocktail: Various, including Mai Tai ($18) with Smith & Cross, Clemént VSOP, Appleton Estate V/X, lime, orgeat, and dry curaçao.
Listed on the menu as "Sharing is Caring," The Rum Line's large format cocktail selection is based on excess ingredients that remain at the end of each week. Order up Trader Vic's 1968 scorpion bowl with Bacardi Superior, Remy 1738, orgeat, orange juice, and lemon ($30) or the large format three-rum Mai Tai ($115 for six to eight) served in a large crystal dispenser full of crushed ice and garnished with lime wheels, orange wheels and a flamed pineapple top.
Location: 310 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA
Bartender: Abigail Gullo
Cocktail: The Big Hooch Punch ($75) with Irish whiskey, Satsuma juice, Assam tea, Hiver Amer, lemon, nutmeg, and rosewater syrup.
Earlier this year SoBou launched a boozy brunch featuring new shareable cocktails served tableside. The Big Hooch Punch is poured from a giant flask and Bloody Marys ($9) are topped off with a bottle of vodka frozen in an ice block.
Location: 180 Ludlow Street, New York, NY
Bartender: Tom Waugh
Cocktail: Imperial Planter's Punch ($35) with Trinidad and Martinique rums, Planter's spices, fresh grapefruit juice and fresh lime juices; and Bloody Marie ($50).
Dirty French serves up its large format brunch cocktails in such stylish ways. The Imperial Planter's Punch arrives in an antique glass pitcher while the Bloody Marie is presented on a board with all the fixings. Day drinkers can customize the cocktail with oysters on the half shell, horseradish, house pickles, Creole shrimp, and Castelvetrano olives.
Location: 10 W 28th Street, New York, NY
Bartender: Leo Robitschek
Cocktail: Various, including Madison Park Smash ($120) with cognac, Royal Combier, lemon, Angostura bitters and mint.
Barman Leo Robitschek created the spectacularly named cocktail explosions to celebrate communal imbibing. "I love the idea of bringing everyone around the table—forming a hilarious community around something spectacular and fun," he says. Opposed to the idea of messy large format cocktails involving punchbowls and ladles, he found the perfect drink vessel, an antique cut-glass absinthe dispenser with a silver spout for neat pours. Choose from five different cocktails like a three-rum Mai Tai or the Separatist with bourbon, Amaro CioCiaro, lemon and orange juice.
Location: 339 E 75th Street, New York, NY
Bartender: Pamela Wiznitzer
Cocktail: Three different mixtures with a choice of four liquor options ($59 to $139).
For Seamstress' Tailor-made large format cocktail program, creative director and former Dead Rabbit bartender Pamela Wiznitzer prepares three different cocktails to serve alongside four 375ml liquor bottles ($59 to $139), allowing amateur bartenders to build their own drinks at the table. Ask for the Tailor-made 2 and get a pitcher of Earl Grey tea, Cointreau, lemon, demerara, and bitters to mix with Bulleit Rye, Beefeater London Dry Gin, Maker's Mark Bourbon, or Glenfiddich 12 Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
Location: 121 W 10th Street, New York, NY
Bartender: Garret Richard
Cocktail: Tahitian Coffee ($16) with Plantation Barbados rum, Campo de Encanto pisco, cold brew concentrate, house falernum, honey, guava, passion fruit, orange and lime.
Perfect for Tiki-loving coffee addicts, the Tahitian Coffee cocktail marries the island staples of rum, tropical fruit, and coffee into this scorpion bowl-style drink which is served in a Chemex for two. According to bartender Richard, who created it for Jim Kearns' program, the Stumptown cold brew rounds out "the fruit flavors in contrast to most coffee cocktails where java is the central component."
Location: 116 Macdougal St, New York, NY
Bartender: Max Messier
Cocktail: Messier Manhattan ($90) with Wild Turkey 101 Rye, Zucca, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Angostura and orange bitters.
Get premade cocktails in a 750ml bottle or flask at this Greenwich Village bar. The large-format drink, which serves four to six, is presented in a ice-filled silver Champagne bucket and accompanied with glassware, garnishes, and all the fixings so guests can do it up themselves.
Location: 3267 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, OR
Bartender: Warren Boothby
Cocktail: Three cocktails ($24 each), including Pink Pillow with whiskey, orange, cranberry, pineapple, lemon, lime and ginger ale.
A family that drinks together stays together or something like that. Gold Dust Meridian knows this and has appropriately named their large format cockails "Family Bowls" for large groups to share.
Location: 4057 N Mississippi Avenue, Portland, OR
Bartender: Jeff Seymour
Cocktail: Classic Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Negroni and Martinez ($30)
For straightforward drinking and old favorites, Interurban has curated four pure classic cocktail recipes to serve in large bottles—Classic Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Negroni, and Martinez—for groups of up to four.
Location: 928 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA
Bartender: Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail: Various, including Cherry Fizz ($45, serves four) with gin, cherry brandy, egg white, orange blossom and lemon.
Canon offers a slew of large format cocktails to accommodate any size posse, from two to 10. Choose from a Zombie for two ($22) complete with "Earl Grey smoked brainzzzz," a Corpse Reviver #CO2.1 ($45) carbonated cocktail for four served from a Champagne bottle, or the Fishhouse Punch Deluxe for four to 10.
Location: 2100 14th Street NW, Washington, DC
Bartender: Chad Spangler
Cocktail: Four French press cocktails ($40 for four people).
Provision No. 14 MacGyvered the everyday French press into an unlikely cocktail tool. Four different 34-ounce cocktails are served with aromatic garnishes whose flavors are then pressed into the liquid. So, the longer the cocktail sits, the more it evolves. Try the Ticket to Ride (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Chartreuse, honey, and chamomile flowers), Grapefruit Press (Stolichnaya vodka, grapefruit, mint and basil garnishes), Pisco Rambler (chamomile tea infusion with fresh mint and citrus) and The Voyager (Irish whiskey, sherry, black tea, lemon and demerara sugar).