Category Archives: Raising the Bar

The Classics Reborn – Have you noticed a trend forming in the ever-changing world of cocktails?

Yes, being innovative in the cocktail world is great, but you must know how to make a quality classic!

Yes, being innovative in the cocktail world is great, but you must know how to make a quality classic!

The last couple of years have seen countless changes behind the bar. In fact, if you can dream it, you’ll probably see it at a bar near you, where bar chefs continually redefine “thinking outside the box.” Flavoured spirits, infusions, dry ice, flamed garnishes, muddled drinks and the inclusion of herbs and fresh fruit are all testament to this. With the world now at our fingertips, it isn’t hard for your establishment be on the forefront of the next big thing, the next beverage revolution.

Here’s the kicker. Refined versions (or re-defined versions) of old school cocktails are in. Signature drinks such as Cosmopolitans and Sidecars are back with a vengeance, revamped for a taste that is familiar, yet new. Ingredients like pomegranate and green tea, for example, are adding a whole new level of flavour and sophistication to the traditional martini.

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Molecular Mixology

There are so many possibilities within Mixology; Incorporating one or more than one element of molecular can blow your guests' minds!

There are so many possibilities within Mixology; Incorporating one or more than one element of molecular can blow your guests' minds!

There has been tremendous buzz in the bartending world for the past few years regarding the term “molecular mixology.” While the name itself can be a little intimidating, molecular mixology can be distilled down into one fundamental distinction. It is simply the process of changing the state of a liquid into a solid or gas.

While the bar and kitchen working together is certainly nothing new, the bar has begun taking cues from culinary predecessors; bartending is making a shift towards incorporating science into cocktails. The latest trend is something being referred to as ‘molecular mixology,’ the bar equivalent of a molecular approach to gastronomy, which has made leaps and bounds in the kitchen in the past few years.

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Reintroducing Quality Cocktails – A Fresh Look at Profits Behind the Bar

Get creative! - Humans have come thus far through evolution, cocktails should be right up there with us!

Get creative! - Humans have come thus far through evolution, cocktails should be right up there with us!

Seventy-five years ago, during the Great Depression, Americans cheered and raised a glass to the repeal of prohibition. Largely viewed as a huge flop — considering that as soon as Congress banned the sale and service of alcohol, consumption rose to record levels (though just how much it increased is tough to judge as “gangsters” didn’t find it prudent to report their sales to the government) — there are lessons to be learned from the “noble experiment,” which can be applied to the recession we face today.

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Does Passion Equal Profit?

Mojito

A little bit of love can go a long way. Care about your drinks! Customers WILL notice, and so will the bank.

A little bit of love can go a long way. Care about your drinks! Customers WILL notice, and so will the bank.

Most managers in the hospitality industry have experienced a diamond in the rough. By this I mean a staff member who just seems to get service, and has that “X factor” we can never seem to put our finger on. Having thought about it a fair amount, I have come to the conclusion that the aforementioned “X factor” is passion. And while many of our staff members are admittedly on a career stopover, I believe that you can ignite this passion. How? By simply articulating the “What’s In It for Me?”

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The Bitter Truth – Elevating Customers’ Taste Experiences.

Bitters; the salt and pepper of the drink world!

Bitters; the salt and pepper of the drink world!

I’ve been bartending for longer than I can remember and, to be honest, it was years before I ever opened a bottle of bitters.

While working in Australia I was introduced to bitters as one of the ingredients in the hangover cure trifecta — lemon, lime and bitters. Made with lemonade (or 7Up to those of us who live in North America), lime cordial and the magic “bitters,” this elixir is used to settle the stomach.

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Turning Your Bar Green.

Fresh ingredients blow powdered mix out of the water!

Fresh ingredients blow powdered mix out of the water!

While the environmental movement is at the forefront of public conscience, more and more bars are making an effort to go green with their daily business practices. I’m sure you’ve heard all the popular catch phases: renewable energy, carbon neutral footprint and the uber-popular green is the new black.

What does this have to do with operating my restaurant or bar you ask?

First of all, it’s important to identify the difference between a green cocktail and the absurdity of the healthy cocktail. Ordering up a martini made with pomegranate liqueur is not going to earn you any points in the antioxidant cup. Cocktails are supposed to be a little bit naughty anyways…
It starts with the understanding that operating a sustainable bar or restaurant is easier than you think, not to mention the opportunities to save money and increase margins. Making each business decision with the environment in mind is rewarding in many ways: socially, economically and environmentally.

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Raising the Bar at The Four Seasons!

The Cucumber Collins was a hit among the experienced bartenders.

The Cucumber Collins was a hit among the experienced bartenders.


Have you ever been to a bar where you feel like your bartender is just simply slamming a drink on a counter for you, rather than being able to give you an entertaining experience and a hand crafted cocktail?

There are many bartenders who noticeably carry around an attitude in which they really don’t care about the quality of the experience or drink they are serving their client; this needs to change.

The Four Seasons Hotel, located at 21 Avenue Road in the heart of downtown Toronto, has made and been able to maintain a name for themselves based on their admirable customer service and notable cocktail menu.

On Wednesday, August 25, 2010, BartenderOne was asked to create an interactive bartender training program and team building workshop for the bartenders at The Four Seasons Hotel to help, provide in depth bartender training, open the minds of the staff of all the amazing possibilities within their menu, and of course to start to change the way cocktails are being formulated. Kick out the powdered barmix!

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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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Cool as a Cucumber

When you see cucumber, you think; cool, crisp, and refreshing... Perfect. I'll have two please!

When you see cucumber, you think; cool, crisp, and refreshing... Perfect. I'll have two please!

Walk into almost any hip Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal restaurant and the cocktail menu you’re handed will likely describe mouth-watering concoctions that use fresh herbs, organic fruit and other top-notch ingredients.

Using cucumber in a cocktail may sound ridiculous at first. Until recently, only a few trained bartenders would even consider using cucumber as a garnish on a Bloody Ceasar or Mary, but all of that is about to change. Cucumbers have somehow made the transition from a low-cost garnish to a top-shelf ingredient – bar chefs have embraced cucumbers as a hot, or cool, new addition to menus, along with a host of other ingredients that are making the migration from the kitchen to the bar.

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