Cocktail Specials

09 September, 2014

“A few weeks back Bombay Sapphire hosted 14 nations at the global final of Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender,” says Ware. 

“We saw the use of savoury ingredients used to enhance the cocktails in much the same way a chef would with food. Vinegars were used as a sour alternative, as well as oils used to encapsulate aromas or used for texture within the drink.” 

Montague is dismissive of devoting space on the list to low/non-alcoholic offerings. She feels juices should be just there ready to be mixed and served according to a customer’s tastes.

But Risum-Urth says: “I definitely believe a menu should have low or non-alcoholic options. We have a whole section of the menu with only non-alcoholics. 

“There’s always someone driving or pregnant, and being able to offer them something serious and thought through is pricelessly good service.”

Light on the branding

How branded should a list be? McGlinchy says: “While it is good to include brands that offer versatile taste experience and mixability, cocktail menus that include too much of any given brand can have too much of a marketing focus and feel, which can detract from the authenticity of the creation. 

“Branded cocktail lists can also refer to the fact the brands are paying to be included in the cocktail list, thus the decision is driven by commercials and not necessarily by the drink profiles.” 

Montague says: “Brands are important. There is a reason brands are so big. The reassurance of a brand helps to make customers comfortable. They want to know what they are drinking and not feel scared.”

How big should a cocktail list be? Ware says: “My personal feeling would be from about 12 to 18 drinks. It’s easier to manage stock and quality of drinks going out while maintaining enough variety for your guests. You should have a strong knowledge of classic drinks and these should be offered too.”

Green says: “There are no rules here. I have seen and written menus with more than 100 cocktails and have also worked on a 10-strong list that has been well received. 

“Whatever the number of cocktails on the list, the most important thing is that they are made well. However, I would suggest that any more than 30 and the reader will start to switch off.”

Comas says: “There is no magic number but the BBFB team would recommend quality over quantity. In fact, some of the best bars in the world only have a selection of six to 10 drinks on the menu.”

Risum-Urth sums it up. “Whatever floats your boat. Happiness Forgets has a great comment at the end of its very short list: ‘The list is short but the library is big.’ And at the other end 1806 in Melbourne has a bloody book to read through. The fashion these days seems to be shorter menus that change more often. In a few years we might be going the other way.”

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