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!

The workshop was built around the Four Season’s own drink menu, and also touched upon some of the most commonly ordered drinks, which were the hand-shaken Margarita, Fresh Cucumber Collins, Cosmopolitan with flamed orange zest garnish, Chocolate Mint Mojito, and the Classic Martini.

Modifications were discussed, such as as adding cucumber to the traditional Tom Collins, to create a fresh, current twist to the original Collins that left you wanting more! The cocktails were made, tasted, and discussed, with advice regarding the proper technique for making each cocktail. For example, the order of operations for a Mojito is commonly overlooked. It must be prepared: mint, limes, then sugar to ensure the mint remains intact and is not floating up into one of your guests’ pearly whites! The way in which a cocktail is developed is absolutely essential to the final product you are serving. Even the way it is shaken matters; you don’t want to shake for too long, or the drink becomes diluted, ten seconds is perfect.

Although the Four Seasons had already dabbled with liquor infusions before, they were thirsty for something new. We reviewed fat washing to produce bacon infused vodka, which can be incorporated into drinks like a BLT Caesar. Even using dill pickles to infuse vodka with dill and garlic adds an intense kick to your beverages.

The most important topic overall that was covered had to be tailoring the cocktail to your guests personal preferences, ensuring all, or most of the taste sensors were engaged. This could be done through things such as using bitters, which can be created at home. Balance is key.

Senses are an amazing part of the way that your guest feels about a cocktail. The taste, smell, looks, and texture all play a large role. To give a guest the full experience, all of these elements must have attention paid to them. Simple tricks like adding aromatics to a cocktail can make a world of difference. A flamed orange zest to a Cosmopolitan for example, takes a fairly simple drink and adds another level, now incorporating the olfactory, which intensifies the experience, and makes your guest feel like they’ve just received a cocktail that was tailored just for them.

The workshop was a great forum for the bartenders of the Four Seasons to bounce ideas off of each other, as well as expand their creativity to the boundless potential of their bar, and we were more than glad to help show them how BartenderOne constructs a cocktail!

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