Batch-Key Kids

Group drinking beyond the punch bowl

For a few years now, group sipping has been situated around the punch bowl, which bars around the country brought back with fervor.

And though the zeal for batched cocktails hasn't dissipated, it has shifted shapes. The current favored format for crowds: bottles.

The trend, which first took root in London's advanced cocktail pool, has hopped the Atlantic and is igniting the hearts of New York bartenders.

We found a bottled Negroni (click here to see the recipe) at Naren Young's new The Daily, and Leo Robitschek, bar manager of NoMad (the much-anticipated follow-up to Eleven Madison Park), is offering a high-end version of bottle service. In it, guests make their own cocktails with spirits and mixers from a well-stocked cocktail cart. Late last year, Fatty 'Cue in the West Village launched a similar bottle-service concept, in which guests purchase a bottle of booze and are provided with their choice of craft house-made mixers.

The trend is making inroads elsewhere: In Pasadena, California, 1886 is offering a bottled cocktail made with celery-and-apple soda and aged white rum. Newcomer Interurban, located in Portland, Oregon, has two rotating cocktails on the menu that come by the large-format bottle. Nearby, cocktail guru Jeffrey Morgenthaler has been bottling carbonated cocktails for several months at his bar, Clyde Common.