But first, the team at Local Bartending School wanted me, an experienced bartender, to first share a story about my buddy named Will.
Recreating History in Every Cocktail
Your customers will be raising their perfectly picked glassware and opening their wallets to your newfound bartending skills in no time.
What does it mean to balance a cocktail?
4. Make sure you know what you’re doing. Take a bartending class to learn all the tips and tricks of the trade before you start with a huge feat like creating a cocktail menu. Many people try—few succeed.
7. Learn all of the mixology basics. You also want to totally nail down how to make an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan so you can include a few familiars, but with a special twist.
8. Don’t forget about non-alcoholic drinks for everyone who isn’t drinking alcohol. You might also want to consider those non-alcoholic, low ABV, and mocktails for those looking to have a more mellow evening.
9. Balance out the menu with affordable cocktails and expensive cocktails so that there’s something for everyone.
10. Never forget to add a few signature cocktails that make your bar stand out from the rest!
11. Understand your customer base. Determine who your typical customers are and what they like to drink. Think about an Italian restaurant compared to a Mexican. Typically the drinks are different, just as much as the food, because of their clientele and what they come in looking for.
12. Stock up on the basics. Plan ahead by stocking up on all the necessary ingredients for your most popular drinks
13. Explore different flavor combinations. Experiment with new flavors and ingredients to come up with interesting combinations
14. Find exciting ways to present drinks. Make sure to provide a visual presentation that will attract customers. Don’t be scared to experiment with presentation. Burn your cinnamon and expel oils from citrus to invite the nose to the sensory party. Garnish your drinks with edible flowers or ice cubes with herbs in them to make them more appealing for all of the senses.
15. Don’t forget about up gaming garnishes! This is one of the easiest things to do, but most common mistake I see. Give guests something extra special by adding a garnish they don’t typically see. Like a dehydrated lime, candy for a rim, or Twizzlers as a straw. Go crazy! [GIF] This is really where you can let your creative side of out its cage.
Famous Cocktail Menus
1. Atlas in Singapore. It’s safe to say that Jesse Vida, the head bartender at Atlas, has found balanced bliss. With his guidance, the venue’s newest drink menu is a tribute to the glory days of Art Deco. Divided into five chapters, each named after an event or milestone from the era, the menu takes you on a journey through the glamour, culture, and fashion of the time. It’s no easy feat to balance the old with the new, but Vida has done so with ease.
2. Raised by Wolves in San Diego. With the recent opening of Raised by Wolves, San Diego’s cocktail scene has officially leveled up. But what sets this new bar apart isn’t just its hidden location behind a secret door in a fine spirits shop. No, what really makes Raised by Wolves stand out is its dynamic duo of owners, Erick Castro and Chris Patino. Both accomplished bartenders in their own right, they’ve now combined forces to create a cocktail menu that always keeps patrons guessing. From the fruity and fun Island Old Fashioned to the spicy and refreshing Sonora Señora, there’s a drink for every taste at Raised by Wolves. Looks like San Diego just got a new contender for best bar in town!
3. Acadia in Chicago, Illinois. Sure, it may be a restaurant first and foremost, but let’s not overlook the fact that their cocktail game is on another level. Their wine lists alone could easily take up a good chunk of your evening (we’re talking as much as 41 pages, folks), but it’s their cocktail offerings that really steal the show. They’re unique AF.
Aspire to Be Awarded: Best Cocktail Menus around the Globe
Creating Cocktail Menus That Slay: 5 Fundamentals Facts that Keep You from Failing
1. The Ingredients that Make up the DNA of Any Cocktail
Once you understand the role each ingredient plays, you’ll be able to create cocktails and cocktail menus that are balanced and tantalizing.
Every cocktail is made up of several vital ingredients that can be categorized as:
2. Learn Drink Families
To craft a great menu, it’s important to understand the different drink families and their respective cocktails. There are six categories: spirit-forward, sours, fizzes, smashes, highballs, and flips. Spirit-forward cocktails such as Manhattans and Negronis predominantly feature the base spirit. Sours, on the other hand, have a sour element added, like lemon juice. To make a fizz, add soda water to a sour. Smashes are made by muddling herbs and fruit before adding the other ingredients. Highballs are tall drinks made with a base spirit and mixer, while flips are decadent drinks made with egg yolk and fortified wine.
3.Create a Workable Mise En Place
Mise en place is a critical step in any bartender’s workflow and honestly one of the biggest mistakes of bar owners who aren’t familiar with the industry.
This refers to preparing everything beforehand, such as slicing fruits, pre-batching syrups, and juices, and prepping garnishes.
This is a key step that helps bartenders work more efficiently, reduce prep time, and serve drinks faster. Bartenders should have all the needed tools within reach to stay efficient, such as ice scoops, strainers, Hawthorne strainers, and so much more.
4.Source New Drinks and Rotating Out Old Ones
It’s essential to keep your menu fresh and exciting by regularly rotating in drinks and retiring those that aren’t selling as well. Before adding something new to the menu, consider whether you have the necessary ingredients in stock, whether you can handle the prep workload, and, more importantly, whether it is profitable. To maximize the return on investment, analyze the revenue generated from each cocktail and eliminate those that aren’t selling well.
5.Break Down Costs and Maximizing Profitability or Else… Your Bar Might Fail
Cocktail prices range widely, and it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the cost of goods sold (COGS) and how it affects profit margins. COGS includes the cost of all ingredients used to make a cocktail, including the base spirit, modifier, and flavorings. Ensure that the price of your cocktail covers the COGS for an acceptable profit margin and any overheads.
If I haven’t said it enough, COGS matter. I can’t tell you how many times COGS come up in bar and restaurant management/ownership. So if you aren’t talking COGS, you’re doing something wrong.
Create a Balanced Cocktail Menu, and Bar Career, with Local Bartending School
With this guide now firmly in hand, you’re well on your way to becoming a master of mixology! From incorporating inspiration from classic drinks to utilizing some more daring concoctions and garnishes, the proof is in the pudding – with just a few extra touches in presentation and quality ingredients, you can quickly make your menu an inspiring one.