Posts Tagged ‘bars’

Is Your Bar Keeping Up With the Times?

June 4, 2012

No restaurant is complete without a comprehensive drink menu.  That means going well beyond the traditional house wines and a few cocktails.  A new clientele, one that is interested in imaginative and innovative drink choices, is pushing many restaurants to expand their bar services in remarkably unforeseen directions.


What’s Hot


Smokey flavors have topped the trends in cocktails this year.  While the drinks themselves don’t have to smoke, many products, from Scotches to mescals, have taken center stage.  Well paired with red meat and barbequed cuisine, these savory drinks are very popular with the cocktail set.


Another trend revolves around ice production.  The goal is to produce perfectly formed ice which melts more slowly, resulting in a lower rate of dilution.  Custom made ice, available in unique shapes or molded around ingredients such as herbs or fruits, is in high demand.  Whether the bar makes its own ice or purchases it, all bartenders agree that the ice makes or breaks the drink.


Historic cocktails are also making a comeback and the wise bartender will make sure to have a number of recipes on hand for such demands.  Shrubs, acidulated beverages that are made from fruit juices, sugar, and other ingredients, are often used to whet the palates of eager diners.  The goal is to create a drink that is both tart and sweet at the same time so as to stimulate the senses.


What the Future Holds


No trend holds on forever and a good bartender keeps his eyes open for what will be coming next.  The culinary world has moved to a model that features food from “farm to plate” and that appears to be the direction that bars are heading as well.  Connecting with local growers for the best and freshest drink ingredients may be the best way to stay on the cocktail cutting edge.

The Skies Are Safe for Peanuts

June 7, 2011

Well, peanut lovers can rest easy knowing that the little, hard to open bags of the stuff offered on airplanes are safe from regulation. Apparently, the Department of Transportation had been looking into banning the peanuts on flights due to widespread peanut allergies. However, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and CNN, the agency has been forced to back down from their plans due to a law which specifically prohibits them from regulating the distribution of peanuts on aircraft without first doing a peer reviewed study to look at the issue from a public health point of view. Since no such study was done, the ban is currently dead in the water.

The original plan had asked for public comment on three possible ways of restricting the use of peanuts on board aircraft because of concerns regarding peanut allergies. The three options included restricting peanuts completely, restricting them on planes where passengers made such a request in advance and restricting them in special “peanut free” areas of the aircraft for those who prefer not to be in the vicinity of the stuff.

It is worth noting however that airlines are not required to serve peanuts even though they are not officially banned. In fact many airlines have switched to bags of pretzels instead, specifically because of passenger complaints regarding the peanuts. In our industry, there have been no plans to restrict the use of peanuts in bars, though again, many bars have voluntarily moved to pretzels in order to accommodate diners who were allergic to them. Now the real question is, since peanuts have been banned by some due to peanut allergies, will low carb dieters start demanding yet another alternative since they are unable to eat the pretzels that are being offered in place of the peanuts?

Guest Bartenders Bring In New Business

May 24, 2011

Those running restaurants with bars may want to consider the latest twist to bring in new business: guest bartenders. The idea is that the guest bartender may bring in some new blood by offering a kind of a show when he or she is serving drinks from your bar. In essence, the thought is that since people tend to talk with bartenders about their problems, guest bartenders could easily commiserate with diners on a different level.

The guest bartenders might even be themed with special abilities or skills. They also may have certain signature drinks that they are known for which they can provide to your diners while they are there. The key is to make a big a fuss out of it and to make it sound like an event, kind of like having a famous guest chef who can provide new culinary delights that your diners may not have experienced in the past – a guest bartender could provide new alcoholic delights.

Another thing that may work with this concept is to have guest bartenders who are known for their specific “shtick.” The best bartenders tend to spend time talking to their patrons and put on a kind of a show for the diners. A guest bartender can breathe new life into an otherwise moribund bar by offering your diners something new and exciting as opposed to the standard fare of bartenders whom you have had in the past and who simply served drinks without much personality.

The way to make this successful is of course to ensure that you properly advertise the fact that a guest bartender will be arriving. You’ll want to run ads and make up flyers which make it sound like a big deal, even if it’s not, simply because people will be intrigued by the concept and will want to come in to see what the fuss is about.