Category Archives: Mixology

Can you afford to train… Can you afford not to?

It's like sending someone to race a car who doesn't know how to drive.... Lacking bartender training is absolutely detrimental to a business !

It's like sending someone to race a car who doesn't know how to drive.... Lacking bartender training is absolutely detrimental to a business !

Do you have unexplained losses in liquor or wine, in draught beer… in all three? If your restaurant is like most hospitality concepts, chances are your current bartender training is based on generations of bartenders who may not have been fully trained themselves. Most restaurants open with meticulous operational guidelines for how drinks are prepared, with detailed recipe lists that must be strictly adhered to along with opening and closing procedures, weekly checklists for cleanliness and follow up procedures. Does this sound familiar? Maybe it’s a distant memory…

What usually follows can be likened to a game of broken telephone, where each generation of bartenders passes on an adapted interpretation of your original training message. In the hospitality industry where employee turnover rates are commonly 50%-66% per year, it doesn’t take long before your original training standards are barely recognizable.

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Irregular Service Ethics.

Yes, PLEASE.

Yes, PLEASE.

Remember every time Norm walked into the bar on Cheers, the entire bar would call out in unison “NORM!” It didn’t matter who was behind the bar, they knew what he drank, and it was ready and waiting for him as he assumed his position at the end of the bar. Norm embodied the “regular,” the men and women who frequent your establishment regularly. They are the ones who more often than not, tip well, and don’t ask for any special kind of service. In many cases they are the types who spend thousands a year in your establishment. They are the cornerstones of your business, you certainly can’t afford to lose them, so the question clearly is how do you keep them and how do you get more of them?

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One Way Ticket to Margaritaville!

Keep the salt on the outside of the glass; nobody can indulge in a great cocktail when it tastes like they are drinking ocean water!

Keep the salt on the outside of the glass; nobody can indulge in a great cocktail when it tastes like they are drinking ocean water!

As a Canadian, when I think of tequila I get flashbacks of an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico with a hangover. To most of us, it’s simply a shot that gets thrown back with a lick of salt and a squeeze of citrus fruit to kill the after taste. All of that is about to change…

Tequila is one of the more versatile spirits. It’s diverse and its great depth of flavour makes it a natural ingredient for cocktails. Despite a massive worldwide tequila shortage in 2000 and the resulting increase in price as supplies diminished, tequila remains one of the premier spirits on any bar south of the border. While vodka still reigns supreme as the number one spirit sold, the cosmopolitan falls a distant second to the margarita which is the world’s most popular cocktail, and has been for years.

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Sweet on Sours.

Once you have a fresh sour, you will never go back to barmix!

Once you have a fresh sour, you will never go back to barmix!

With the diversity of liqueurs on the market today it is possible to make a drink taste like virtually anything. Distillers have made it easy for mixologists to shape the profile of a drink. With base flavours like vanilla, cacao and hazelnut, it’s no wonder drinks like the Crispy Crunch shooter are consistently popular. I often wonder how long it will take before we see a chocolate martini dessert, where the kitchen begins to mimic the flavours being produced on the bar instead of the other way around. Perhaps the service of fusion dishes in traditional bar glassware like wraps in oversized shooter glasses and dessert mousses in martini glasses is an indication that it’s already
happening.

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Asian Inspired Ingredient Adds Zen to the Green-teani

Yes, you can have a cocktail and indulge in healthy antioxidants at the same time!

Yes, you can have a cocktail and indulge in healthy antioxidants at the same time!

There’s no doubt that the Far East has heavily influenced our health conscious way of thinking in North America. There’s something exotic about thousands of years of tradition and total body health that the Asian philosophy offers. From Tai Chi and Chai Teas (say that 5 times fast) to fresh ginger root, echinacea and other holistic and alternative remedies, we’re embracing eastern culture in both Canada and the United States like never before. Dr. Andrew Romanelli of the Sports Performance Centres says 75 per cent of his patients are looking to acupuncture as an alternative and less invasive form of treatment. What does this have to do with cocktail culture you ask? How about this for alternative medicine…

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Take a Trip to the Caribbean from the Comfort of Your Own Bar

Want to take an imaginary trip to the Caribbean with class? The Caribbean Cosmo is the way to do it!

Want to take an imaginary trip to the Caribbean with class? The Caribbean Cosmo is the way to do it!

“I’ll have a Sex and the City martini please,” she tells the bartender. There’s no denying that the cocktail revolution is in full swing; and no beverage has single handedly changed the way we view cocktail culture like the Cosmopolitan. While Carrie Bradshaw sipped reddish pink Cosmos in chic New York watering holes on television’s popular “Sex and the City,” the rest of us wanted to taste that lifestyle, and the Cosmopolitan takes you there…

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Who Says “It’s Not Easy Being Green?”

Cocktails with colour draw your guests' attention, making them more likely to try something new!

Cocktails with colour draw your guests' attention, making them more likely to try something new!

From the classic long island iced tea to start off your evening, to a warm and comforting blueberry tea after a good meal, tea flavoured cocktails have been around for forever. The recent surge in popularity of green tea, coupled with the fact that teas are included on more and more cocktail menus, is a great indication that we’re all about to get a healthy dose of antioxidants. In North America, high quality tea products are now more accessible than ever. With its highly publicized health benefits, wholesale tea sales have grown more than 600 per cent in the last 15 years. Trailblazing restauranteurs are noticing the trends from the Far East and incorporating what was once considered a very ceremonial ingredient into today’s cocktail revolution. Matcha is one of the latest types of tea to hit the Canadian marketplace. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it, few people, or bartenders for that matter, have. With both Starbucks and Booster Juice recently adding matcha to their menus, it won’t be long before it’s a household name. Just know that matcha is the new chai, and it’s a buzzword that may just turn the industry on its ear.

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Cocktail Sizzle and Flair; I’ll Have What She’s Having…

Transcendent glassware and aesthetically appealing garnish will make a world of difference to your cocktails!

Transcendent glassware and aesthetically appealing garnish will make a world of difference to your cocktails!

Who could forget Meg Ryan’s performance in “When Harry Met Sally.” Whether she’s having a Screaming Orgasm (one of this month’s featured cocktails), or your own house specialty, one thing is for sure – your cocktails need to sizzle! Cocktail presentation and felicitous bartender training can make the difference between your guests leaving after one drink, or having your clients buzz around the water cooler about the amazing cocktail creation they had the night before.

Companies like Milestones and TGIFriday’s have made cocktail presentation and proper bartender training a cornerstone of their beverage program, not only by dressing up their cocktails, but by “parading” a tray of drinks through the dining room at eye level to take advantage of a little free on-site marketing. So what can you do to dress up your beverage program?

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Exotic Flavours of Summer!

Give your guests an experience by creating cocktails that scream summer!

Give your guests an experience by creating cocktails that scream summer!

How often have you sat with a group of friends in search of something new and exciting and ended up settling on the same old? How often have you asked your resident bartender for a suggestion and been given something truly different? With the arrival of summer patio season more and more people will be looking for a great patio to enjoy the sunshine and a cool cocktail with friends. There are more than a handful of options when it comes to the flavours, that will undoubtedly, dominate this summer’s exotic cocktail trends.

As the Canadian consumer continues to demand more than just beer, bartenders are becoming mixologists, and in many cases, bar chefs – taking traditional culinary techniques and implementing them into their beverage programs. In a marketplace dominated by drinks that adhere to specific cost and speed of preparation margins, taking an extra few seconds and spending an extra few cents to handcraft a cocktail using top shelf ingredients can make the difference between clientele that will come back and customers who will keep searching for that elusive “something different.”

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Are you Getting Fresh with Me?

Displaying something exotic on the bar opens up your guests' eyes to all of the possibilities, and allows you to show off what your capable of working with!

Displaying something exotic on the bar opens up your guests' eyes to all of the possibilities, and allows you to show off what your capable of working with!

The kitchen and the bar have always had a peaceful coexistence and freshness has always been a key ingredient to the success of any kitchen. The same is quickly becoming true as consumers are demanding the same fresh, handcrafted care from their mixologist as they do from their chefs. It’s rare to find a bar chef who can take the principles of traditional mixology, and synergize them with fresh ingredients to create cocktails that take your dining and drinking experience to a new level.

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