If you want to spark off a good debate among bartenders you just need to ask whether they free pour or jigger.
Once you get past any image and ego, this debate is likely to come down to two essential cocktail ingredients; speed and accuracy.
One thing’s for sure: whichever side of the fence you're on, a consistent pour is essential to delivering a quality drink.
Cory Harwell from Simon Hospitality Group, Las Vegas, says: "The biggest mistake I see bartenders make is free-pouring specialty cocktails. These are the drinks the restaurant is hanging its hat on, and you run the risk of being inconsistent if they're not measured. Bartenders can ruin a great cocktail by not being precise enough... This isn't 1988 and you're not Tom Cruise," he tells Thrillist.
Of course using a jigger alone won't stop sloppy pouring – it still takes skill, practise and training to master a good pouring technique:
“Not only does a good pouring technique improve speed of service, but ensures your customer gets a consistent quality of serve every time. It also reduces wastage and keeps you on the good side of your bar manager,” say Diageo.
Pour Well and Save
Liquor wastage is a common issue behind the bar if you're not using the right tools in the right way. As well as measuring, by pouring correctly and with good technique, there may be money to be saved. With better (more consistent) drinks to be had as a result.
Diageo give the following tips for improving your pouring technique:
- "Set all pour spouts in the same direction - to the right as you view the bottles.
- Always pour in front of your customers, with the bottle label facing them.
- Taste the drink before serving (using a straw) to ensure the quality and consistency of your drinks.
- Never over-pour spirits as this can ruin the taste of the drink and will cost you money."
Once a skilled pour is mastered, your pour spout becomes your friend. But like any good friend – you need to maintain a level of care. Pour spouts need cleaning, and parts need replacing.
Love Your Pourer
“To keep your pour spouts working their best and to help them last longer, you should clean and check for/replace broken ones regularly,” say bar and restaurant management experts, Bevspot.
As Bevspot says, “On the surface, pour spouts might not seem like a fascinating topic. But the type you use, your cleaning method, and the pour spout training you provide to your staff can affect your bottom line. Essentially, if you don’t put enough thought into pour spouts, you could be wasting a lot of money.”
Pour spouts might seem a small and insignificant bar tool, but they not only give you that longed for speed, they also provide pouring accuracy and reduced wastage.
By combining good basic bar tools, like pourers and jiggers, with great training you’re heading to a better experience as a bartender, and a more profitable business. So stick that in your spout and pour it…