5 Tips for Making Perfect Cocktails

Bars are an incredibly popular hangout spot, but a difficult business to successfully maintain. The market is constantly in flux which means bars themselves are always changing, and the competition is tight.

When trying to keep your bar at the top of its game, you’ve probably tried a million different things: Maybe you taught your bartenders flashy mixology tricks, or maybe you installed a self-serve wine station. Maybe you jumped on the trend of outdoor patios and beer gardens, which can really flourish when combined with fire pits, fun games, or funky furniture that will intrigue guests.

In all these brainstorming sessions and late-night meetings trying to come up with a plan to save your bar, don’t overlook the simple but crucial facet of any bar, which can set you above all the rest: Cocktails. Optimizing your drinks list will increase customer loyalty and create a standard of excellence that will drive traffic to your bar—and then keep them there.

Mixing the Perfect Cocktail

Never underestimate the power of a good drink. After all, that is why your patrons are coming to you in the first place, so it’s just as important as good customer service that your drinks stay fresh until the last drop. Here are five things you can do to make sure your cocktails stand out, taste great, and are visually appealing too.

1. Break the ice

Different drinks require different kinds of ice, but customers might request something other than what normally goes into their drink based solely on personal preference. Ice comes cubed, cracked or shaved, with cubed being most common in bars. Though it lasts longer and chills drinks better than the others, it also causes drinks to turn watery if customers nurse them for too long. For that reason, shaved ice has become more popular for cocktails.

2. Get proper tools

Your cocktails are nothing without the right tools to make them. Stock up on essentials like jiggers for measurements, shakers, strainers, and proper glassware to improve the quality of your drinks and make every sip taste just as delicious as the very first one.

3. Regulate temperature

Each drink should be the same temperature as its glass, as that helps them stay tastier and fresher for longer. When making cold drinks, for example, keep the glasses in the freezer or ice them for a while before you pour in the liquor as this will produce the best-quality cocktail.

4. Serving size

Shrinking the size of a drink is a delicate balance; if you’re known for large cocktails that are heavy on alcohol then customers might take offense if they suddenly show up smaller and with a higher price tag. However, there are benefits to smaller serving sizes such as increasing revenue and making bigger batches that can serve more customers. Smaller glasses are easier to manage, and the drinks stay cold and taste good for longer too.

5. Garnish every time

Garnishes are the perfect finish to any cocktail. Visually stimulating garnishes like mint leaves, orange peels, even fancy straws make drinks look more appealing and add something memorable to each customers’ visit. For extra flair, you can use a garnish that tastes good too such as lemon, lime, or a salt or sugar rim.

Sell, Sell, Sell

Now that you’re ready to mix top-notch drinks every single time, all that’s left is to make sure that you’re compliant and ready for business. Liquor laws vary from state to state, so check in with your local ordinances to find out what rules apply to you. If cocktails aren’t cutting it alone, you can promote them through other channels besides on-premise sales.

Since COVID-19, some states have altered their laws surrounding alcohol sales. Depending on where your business is situated you may be able to package some of your best-sellers or house specials for takeout and delivery. You can also sell to-go cocktail kits so your regulars can enjoy their favorite drink at home, or bottle house-made beer for the same purpose. Even include a small note about what meal pairs best with each drink to add a little something extra that sets you apart from the crowd.

The marketplace for bars is in frequent flux, and it’s even more chaotic since the pandemic made many cease service for months at a time. With these tips for making better cocktails, though, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when it’s time to get back to business.

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