Review: Batch & Bottle Cocktails, 4 Expressions

Batch & Bottle launched as a new ready-to-drink cocktail concept last year from William Grant & Sons, the idea being that premium spirits — with their names appearing right on the label — could drive the experience. (Naturally, it’s all William Grant-owned spirits that show up in the bottles.)

Four offerings hit the market at launch, and at least one more has arrived since. The recipes were developed by name-brand bartenders and are made using high-end ingredients — but run only 9 bucks for a half-bottle of hooch. We received the original quartet and put them to the test. Thoughts, as always, follow.

Batch & Bottle Monkey Shoulder Lazy Old Fashioned – Probably the simplest cocktail in this lineup, this really does taste like Monkey Shoulder, plus a little added sweetness. A Scotch-based Old Fashioned is unorthodox, but not out of line, and with a gentle malt like Monkey Shoulder, the formula works great. I tasted it without the suggested orange peel garnish and didn’t get much in the way of fruit, though if you squint you might detect a touch of maraschino cherry. I could be dreaming on that, though: The overall through-line of this experience is sesame seed, breakfast cereal, lemon peel, milk chocolate, and, of course, monkey fur. 70 proof.

Batch & Bottle Glenfiddich Scotch Manhattan – Another unorthodox recipe, this bottled Manhattan comes across as dark brown in the glass and rather oxidized on the nose, which is often a problem with batched vermouth cocktails. The palate exudes elements of oxidized wine and chocolate, its “whiskyness” a bit indistinct. Notes of malt balls give the cocktail a cereal-heavy bent, with ruddy, almost muddy vermouth notes heavy on the finish. 60 proof.

Batch & Bottle Hendrick’s Gin Martini – That’s a rather yellow martini, ain’t it? If you like your martini heavy on the vermouth, this one pours it on in spades. It’s full of quite herbal, heavily oxidized wine notes, and the gin all but disappears under a sea of greenery. While it might be pointless to suggest watering this down with more gin, what it really needs more than anything is a handful of olives. 70 proof.

Batch & Bottle Reyka Rhubarb Cosmopolitan – Reyka doesn’t have the same cachet as the other brands in this lineup, nor does the mention of rhubarb on the label, but let’s put all that aside for the moment. Surprisingly, this is one of the most approachable and straightforwardly enjoyable cocktails in the mix, offering ample (but not overblown) sweetness and a strawberry-like fruitiness, but all with a bit of an edge atop it. There’s not enough to peg it specifically as rhubarb, but a slightly sour-bitter note on the finish does indeed elevate this over your standard $15 bar recipe. I’d drink it — I mean, if no one was watching.

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