Tag Archives: Mixology

The Tipping Point.

Great service is so hard to come by; If only we could all have giant forks.

Great service is so hard to come by; If only we could all have giant forks.

I’m ticked off. You might even say I’m at the tipping point. I’m fed up with receiving mediocre drinks and dealing with snotty bartenders who think they deserve to get tipped for service that is average at best.

Each year, I’m lucky to be able to go some place warm for the first week of January to unwind, recharge and set goals for the year. I usually look for a destination that has a namesake cocktail; last year I got to work with some amazing bartenders in Fiji. While I taught them a little bit about mixology, they schooled me how to make the perfect blue lagoon while standing in the Blue Lagoon in the Yasawa Islands.

Shortly thereafter I travelled to Miami in search of the best made mojito outside of Havana, Cuba. The offering up and down the Miami Beach strip was, quite frankly, pathetic. Most bartenders used mint syrup instead of fresh mint, lime and sugar. They also treated our party like an interruption rather than the reason for their employment. In Miami, I was told to “wait a moment” because the bartender was watching television. Then he not only charged me an 18 per cent automatic gratuity on the single mojito I purchased but had the gall to ask for an additional tip.

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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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38-years-old and Never Kissed a Girl.

The Caesar; the quintessential Canadian cocktail.

The Caesar; the quintessential Canadian cocktail.

As I sit here writing this article and enjoying the last days of summer, I’m thinking of things that are distinctly Canadian. A few come to mind – long weekends at the cottage, The Tragically Hip, maple syrup, and the Caesar.

There’s no question that Canadians are lovers of the savoury Caesar cocktail. As a nation, we consume three hundred million Caesars a year, which roughly means 10 per man, woman and child. This quintessential Canadian cocktail was born nearly 40 years ago when a man named Walter Chell was saddled with inventing a signature house cocktail for an Italian restaurant being built in the Weston Hotel in Calgary.

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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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