Tag Archives: Mixology

Branding – Not just for Cattle.

It's a simple tweak; but it works!

It's a simple tweak; but it works!

If you look up the word “brand” in the dictionary, you will discover that a brand is, “a mark or symbol to differentiate one’s cattle from another’s.” The key word in that definition, as it relates to your establishment, is differentiate. It takes courage to be different and faith in your vision to be successful in the long-term.

In today’s highly competitive world, developing and promoting your difference or brand is increasingly difficult, almost as difficult as it is to find adequate bartender training. There are a few companies that have done it well and have enjoyed the rewards of successful branding. For example, when you think of the Bellini, most people think of Milestone’s. The company has a great cocktail menu, yet the Bellini is their flagship cocktail, and the one that they are known for. Why is this drink so successful? Consistent quality and eye-catching presentation … you know that the drink is going to look great and taste great at the same time.

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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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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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Mixing a Formula for Long Term Success!

The industry is experiencing a cocktail revolution, and it’s time to start demanding more from bartenders

If your drink isn't up to your standards, send it back!

If your drink isn't up to your standards, send it back!

Has any one else noticed the increase in bars, restaurants and clubs arriving on the scene at the same rate they are disappearing? In major urban centres every week it seems that there is a new “I have to go” spot to check out. Why can’t these concepts find the secret to lasting success? Many bars and restaurants begin with a well-defined vision, spend countless hours and dollars on all the hard details of their operations and then in one swoop, hire their front line salespeople without considering their abilities to serve a drink? With all of these new places opening, who are we putting on the front lines to represent our new concepts?

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Imagination and Culinary Creativity Shake the Bar Scene

The Mojito is many bartender's first step into creating hand-crafted cocktails.

The Mojito is many bartender's first step into creating hand-crafted cocktails.

You may have heard the old cliché that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. For many restaurants and bars, service and product quality in the venue represent that weak link. Through years of systemizing our hospitality concepts, only a few operators have successfully maintained their level of bartender training and product quality. Quite often, it’s easier to practice management by abdication than management by delegation. In other words, it’s easier to fill a position with someone who has enough bartender training to get by, than to take the time and effort to train them to be great! The trouble is your front line employees deserve nothing but the best training; they are after all, the first and last impression that your guests will have of your operation.

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