Tag Archives: Whisky Sour

Better Bitters from your Buddies at B1

A day of experimenting: Repeal House Bitters

A day of experimenting: Repeal House Bitters

Have you ever tasted a something and thought ‘man I could do a better job myself’? BartenderOne had the chance to back up this statement when Lauren Mote, celebrated Mixologist from The Refinery Bar in Vancouver came to assist with a culinary approach to cocktails.

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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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Fresh cocktails may take a little longer, but the result is worth the wait

Cocktails made with fresh ingredients

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Few (if any) would ever think of asking an executive chef to rush cooking a medium rare steak or hurry up and assemble a perfectly prepared meal. Yet for some reason people won’t wait for a well made drink.
In an era where time is of the essence, consumers need to understand building a drink with fresh ingredients is well worth the wait – the taste is a world apart from what they have come to expect from the average cocktail made with post-mix bar syrup or powder.
With all the talk of mouth-watering, hand-crafted cocktails coming out of bars in London, New York and San Francisco (and the associated profitability), bartenders in Canada have been hard at work designing recipes made with fresh ingredients, homemade syrups, artisanal bitters and infused spirits. And as many Canadian bartenders transition from making rum and cokes to more labour intensive drinks like handmade mojitos, guests are noticing a change in the time it takes to get their drink.
Though no one is immune to the cultural shift in expectations that has led consumers to expect quick service, a well trained bartender should be able to engage in conversation while preparing a drink, either to educate the client on the cocktail they’re about to enjoy or simply learn a little more about the person they’re serving.
Perhaps the average consumer isn’t ready to embrace a well made cocktail because they don’t know what one looks like, much less tastes like. And educating bartenders about spirits and liqueurs that they’re not familiar with is like introducing a new crop of ingredients to a chef. Most consumers and many bartenders are intimidated by their own lack of knowledge about spirits and liqueurs.
Need proof?
Make two whisky sours – one with a post-mix or powdered bar mix and the other with the following recipe:

1.5 oz whiskey
Juice from half a fresh lemon, squeezed
1 bar spoon sugar
1/2 oz egg white
3 dashes of Angostura bitters

Taste both while blindfolded; there is no comparison.
The more knowledge imparted to staff, the more they will sell higher margin spirits. Teach bartenders to assemble a well made cocktail and it will boost an operator’s bottom lime. Though it might take some time, it’s well worth the wait.

Gavin MacMillan is a master mixologist, bar chef and owner of BartenderOne Corp., Canada’s fastest growing group of bartender training facilities. Gavin is an award-winning flair bartender and published author. He is also considered one of Canada’s leading authorities on cocktails and mixology. Contact Gavin at gavin@bartenderone.com.

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