Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC SeptOct 2016 Contents DRINK OF CHOICE
What do you usually drink? If everyone in your group has
been to The Everleigh before, we’ll save you the full spiel.
Not that it’s long and boring, we just don’t want to leave
you parched for any longer than necessary. If you’ve
had a drink in the past that you can’t fully remember
but would love to recreate, let us know the overarching
flavours and we’ll get to work.
Alternatively, if you come in every week and order
a Negroni because you love our Negronis, hell, order a
Negroni! It’s one of the best drinks we can offer you.
However, if you drink Negronis all the time and are
keen to see what else is out there, why not try something
similar but different? Tell us what you like about that
drink and we’ll do our best to find you something that
follows similar rules.
Do you feel like something on the sweeter side, more sour and tart, or dry, spicy or bitter?
Establishing what flavours you usually like, combined with what you feel like drinking right
now, is really important, and the two can differ quite considerably. For example, you might
generally be inclined to order a dry or even savoury-style drink, but your dinner at the
restaurant around the corner was on the salty side and now you’re craving something light,
citrusy and slightly sweet.
For boozy, stirred or rocks drinks without citrus, tart flavours are out the window.
These drinks often deal with more complex flavours and it’s important to determine
whether you’d prefer something on the drier or sweeter side before moving forward.
Sweetness in this case can come from anything from sweet vermouth to honey, and from
chocolate bitters to Campari. Drier ingredients include dry vermouth, sherry and absinthe.
In cocktails, ingredients such as absinthe and peaty whisky are used sparingly, so don’t
be alarmed if we make this suggestion. For example, a dash or two of absinthe can really
dry out an otherwise sweeter-style drink, giving it that little extra edge and spice without
overpowering the other flavours.
Is there anything we should
avoid? Last but by no
means least, it’s vital that
we take note of any allergies
or aversions before putting
pen to paper. Knowing
what a customer doesn’t
like is just as important
as knowing what they do
enjoy. For this reason we’ll
always do a final check
through the most commonly
debated fruits, fixings and
flavours prior to making
our decision. Cream, eggs,
absinthe and ginger are
the big ones, but orange
isn’t far behind – who knew
so many people didn’t like
THE PROOF IS IN THE DRINKING
So, what do you think? The real tools of bartending
are our ears, eyes and mouth. Before we begin to
make drinks, it is essential we perfect the skill of
communication. This is something we take very
seriously. Bartender’s Choice isn’t as simple as
answering the questions above. For example, when
someone says they want a sour drink, how sour do
they want it? We use our experience and training
to hone a sort of inner GPS, focused on pinpointing
exactly what each guest is after, and assuming it will
be vastly different to what the person sitting next to
them would like.
Once perfected, this method is fast, fun and
exciting for all involved. Most of all, it’s accurate and
gives great results. Returning to a customer after
they’ve had a sip or two to hear that it was ‘exactly
what I was thinking of’ or to be told ‘you hit the
nail on the head’ is why we do it. And if you don’t
like it, how about I have that one and we’ll get you
STYLE OF DRINK
Do you feel like something refreshing with citrus
or something serious, stiff and boozy? Any drink
shaken with ice will contain fresh citrus. However,
don’t confuse ‘citrusy’, which can simply refer to a
drink containing lemon or lime, with ‘fruity’ or even
‘sweet’. We’ll get to that.
Here, we decide whether you’re after something
bold and booze-forward, stirred or built and served
on the rocks, or something lighter, shaken with fresh
citrus. There are a number of drinks that don’t fit
comfortably into the above two categories, but your
response to this question will help us understand
which end of the scale you’re leaning towards.
If it’s refreshing with citrus, are you after
something tall with ice or short and sharp? Tall
drinks, such as Collins, Rickeys, Bucks and Highballs,
are topped with soda or occasionally sparkling
wine. Short, sharp cocktails include sours, gimlets,
daiquiris and sidecars.
Boozy and stiff more your style? You might
like an Old Fashioned, Martini or Manhattan,
If you’re after something creamy and dessert-
like, or a hot toddy perhaps, it’s highly likely you’ll
tell us. If you want something short and citrusy but
don’t like ‘fiddly cocktail glasses’ we can throw a
drink that’s usually served ‘up’ in a coupette into a
rocks glass with ice, no problem. It’s our job to find
those things out, but don’t be afraid to speak up. No
question is a stupid question.
This is an edited extract
from A Spot At The Bar by
Michael Madrusan & Zara
Young, published by Hardie
Grant Books (RRP $45) and
available in stores nationally.
EXTRACT FROM A SPOT AT THE BAR
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