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

Cocktails made with fresh ingredients


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

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