In order to have a successful club cocktail program consistent in quality and taste, bartenders require more than just the right liquor.
Mixology requires a level of skill and precision that has dramatically increased in the past few years and relies on a variety of tools and ingredients to help get the job done.
There are essential tools every club bartender needs to mix and serve drinks quickly and efficiently. These include a bottle opener, jig, bar spoons, shaker, strainer, citrus juicer, peeler, muddler, bar and service mats, glasswasher, and ice maker. This equipment will help the bar run smoothly and at peak performance all the time. While these basics will help set club bartenders up for success, there are other essentials to help set a club’s cocktail program apart.
Glassware plays an important role in cocktails. Each glass has characteristics that aid in making and serving the perfect cocktail. The shape of a glass can alter the taste and look of a drink so a variety of styles and shapes are necessary to have on hand. And since cocktails can be messy and ruin furniture, having cocktail napkins or coasters is a must. Choose designs that are on-brand with the club and can be used as conversation starters.
Fresh fruit (limes, pineapple, oranges, cherries, etc) and herbs (tyme, mint, etc) help to garnish a great tasting cocktail and can add the perfect finishing touch. A garnish pick is a simple way to pull a garnish together for a cocktail. If it is an edible garnish, like fruit or olives, providing some sort of food pick gives members the option to enjoy the garnish. Using a rimmer with flavored salt or sugar can also help bring the flavors together, however not every cocktail needs salt or sugar on the rim of the glass.
Mixers are non-alcoholic ingredients that can either add flavor to a drink or help to dilute the alcohol. Proper mixers such as grenadine, ginger beer, lime juice, lemon juice, pineapple juice, or simple syrup, can help elevate a cocktail. Bitters are another ingredient added to cocktails that can play an integral role in the whole taste experience. Bitters help to enliven the taste, so when a little bit of a bitter taste is added to a cocktail it can make everything taste more exciting.
An ice maker is essential, but for a club’s signature cocktails it can be impressive to use ice cubes in different shapes. Use spherical ice for bourbon and whiskey on the rocks or use a floral mold for cocktails. Many cocktails require crushed ice, so having a portable ice crusher is an ideal way for bartenders to crush ice to the right consistency for signature cocktails.
A club needs experienced and professional bartenders to serve its members, but in order to provide members with top-quality service and products, a club needs to invest in the essential tools and ingredients for its bartenders to build a strong and successful cocktail program.