Mission possible – quality cocktails in no time at all
In this modern day and age, no one likes to wait. We want it and we want it NOW!
At some point in your bartending career, you will have to work at an event where it will be necessary to pump out large numbers of drinks in a short amount of time. Or you’ll work in a high volume outlet where speed of service is the key to success; for happy customers, a healthy bottom line, and your tip jar. Batching ingredients or entire cocktails is a great way to reduce the amount of time it takes to mix drinks.
Here are a few tips for speeding things up behind your bar:
- Reduce the number of number of bottles you need to touch
- Pre-mix the alcoholic ingredients of the most popular cocktails in your bar. For example, create a Long Island Ice Tea mix if it’s frequently ordered
- Batch together fruit juices for popular cocktails. If you serve 1,000 Mai Tais a night, make a batch of fresh lime juice and orgeat syrup
I recently oversaw an event where we had to serve 350 Blue Manhattans in less than five minutes. Needless to say, that would have been impossible if we had to mix the drinks individually, even if we followed the steps above.
Instead we made a large batch of said cocktail, added water to account for the dilution that would have been caused by ice melt and chilled it to -11°C in the freezer. This is a very simple method for producing high quality, consistent drinks at incredible speed.
Here’s how to do it:
- You will need a set of accurate weighing scales and a measuring jug
- Combine all the liquid ingredients in a glass, without ice, and take a note of the weight
- Complete the cocktail by stirring/shaking the drink with ice
- Weigh the drink again and make a note of the weight
- Subtract the pre-ice weight from the post-ice weight and you will have a value for the amount of water you need to add to the mix. Remember, 1g of water equals 1ml of water.
- Multiply the quantities upwards for the amount of cocktails you require and combine them, including water, in a large vessel.
- Transfer the vessel to the freezer and monitor the temperature. Chilling time will depend on the size of the batch (the bigger the batch, the longer it will take).
- Typically, a shaken cocktail will reach approximately -5°C so your batch will need to be colder than this when you remove it from the freezer as it will warm before it reaches the guest.
- Set up and chill your glassware, prepare your garnishes in advance and remove the pre-batched cocktail as close to service time as you can.
BLUE MANHATTAN (Batch of 100 cocktails)
- 4.5l Johnnie Walker Blue Label (6x750ml bottles)
- 1.5l Rosso Vermouth (2x750ml bottles)
- 20ml Angostura Bitters (Calculatedat 0.1 ml per dash)
- 4.5l of Evian mineral water
- 100 Orange zest garnishes made in advance
By Tim Etherington-Judge - Global Reserve Ambassador: Emerging Markets & Bulleit Frontier Whiskey. International bon vivant, cocktail geek, vegetarian and self-confessed tree hugger.