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Add Value to Your Bar Offerings With Twists on Classics

One of the easiest ways to get the excitement going for a nice meal is a well-crafted drink. But it is easy to get into a rut, reaching for the same drinks--the same cocktails, beers, and wines--every time. Fortunately with a little inspiration and a few key restaurant supply purchases, it’s possible to revamp your bar with some classy new twists on classics that are sure to get the most jaded drinkers excited.

Craft cocktails have been all the rage for years now, and it can seem like extra trouble to come up with new drinks--but there are several simple elements that you can add to existing classics: unusual liqueurs, flavored syrups, and thoughtful garnishes can take your drinks to the next level. While it’s easy to find certain syrups pre-made, in shelf-stable containers, if you really want to up your cocktail game, making some of your own syrups is the way to go. Simple syrup itself is just one part sugar to one part water, boiled until the sugar has dissolved, and then cooled; it’s a common cocktail ingredient and a mainstay of several classic cocktails. Infused simple syrups take that basic recipe and add aromatic and flavorful ingredients such as whole spices, herbs, flowers, coffee, tea, and so on.  

By making a few different infused syrups you can add a lot of flavor and depth to classic cocktails: pair cinnamon or allspice syrup with rum and whiskey drinks to highlight the liquors’ spicy flavor notes, or add elderflower syrup, lavender syrup, or rose syrup to lemony cocktails to give them a fragrant, flavorful counterpoint. The variations are as endless as your imagination, leaving you to create drinks that are classic and brand-new, all at once. Of course, house-made syrups don’t have the stability of packaged ones, so it’s important to keep them chilled and use them within a week--so small batches, clean containers, and bottles to keep them in on the bar are all necessary.

Another way to change up the bar offerings is to incorporate some rarer liqueurs; while it used to be very difficult to get some of the more specialized potions and preparations popular overseas, it’s becoming easier and easier to find them, so search out and sample different versions of old school mainstays like Benedictine, Campari, Fernet Branca, or Chartreuse. Aromatic bitters also exist in many different varieties, which can add a twist to drinks like Manhattans and Old Fashioneds and Rob Roys. With a few new liqueurs and variations on aromatic bitters behind the bar, you can craft tastier, more complex cocktails. Fortunately, it isn’t just easier to find sources of these alcohols, but the amounts usually used in mixed drinks are fairly small--so the investment is cost-effective.

Finally, you can look into investing in a few new bar tools and other restaurant supply items to set your cocktails apart. The classic bar set--shaker, strainer, and jigger for dosing--is useful for many things, but a well-stocked bar should have a few other items as well, specific for making more complicated cocktails. For example, a muddler makes it easy to incorporate fresh herbs of all kinds into your cocktails, and squeeze bottles can keep house-made syrups in a neat state, along with allowing them to be dosed properly and minimizing spillage. There are a few other things you might want to consider as well: a bar blender can broaden the horizons of your drink-making, incorporating frozen beverages into the possibilities. A small investment in equipment can lead to a large range of drinks to choose from, whether for restaurant patrons or home dinner parties.

By spending just a little bit of money and only slightly more time, you can make small tweaks to the bar setup that will improve your cocktail offerings by allowing for twists on classic cocktails. You can also revisit some cocktails and mixed drinks from bygone days, beverages created for more leisurely meals and more graceful settings. With a few key restaurant supplies, you can shake everything up and build on the basics in a way that will get you excited for every meal.

2018-04-16 14:20:54
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