November 15, 2019
For bars and pubs pouring wine by the glass, inventory discrepancies is pretty much accepted as a wine whinge, par for the course. Luckily it doesn’t have to be like this.
May 03, 2019
There are so many muddler options out there, including plastic, steel and wooden variations, with and without teeth. You may prefer the feel of one material over another, but it's also important to think about longevity. So how do you choose a muddler?
November 06, 2018
We’ve all seen it before – that team member who lets the side down and refuses to pick up their game - they're sloppy and messy. When it’s your business and your profits at stake, there is only one way this can go down. And that’s with the decision to give the sloppy bartender that boot. The question is then, should we use the same approach with our bar tools?
August 23, 2018
May 23, 2018
Cocktail making has become a fascination, a passion and, for many, a pretty serious obsession. As a result, bartending is no longer a stopgap job, or a university rent subsidiser, it's a profession.
Bartenders are the industry professionals and it is essential they’re at the top of their game. They must be absolute experts in their arena – it’s vital they are not only highly skilled but highly trained.
March 26, 2018
March 06, 2018
James Bond loves his martini shaken, not stirred, but Google ‘cocktail stirrer’ and you’ll be faced with thousands of options. Which means there must be more to this stirring business…
So, why so many options? If a person can stir a cup of tea with any old teaspoon, can’t the same be said for cocktails?
The simple answer is, no! Just like shaking, there is an art to stirring a cocktail and to master it you’re going to need the right bar spoon or stirrer. As the Cocktail Novice says “When stirring is necessary, a specialized bartender’s spoon makes the process much easier. These tools are durable, easy to clean and won’t affect drink flavours like other tools might.”
Knowing When to Stir and When to Shake
Stirring a cocktail is far gentler than shaking. Cocktails that use only alcohol based ingredients are best stirred. Cocktails that include fruit juices, purees or other ingredients are best shaken to fully integrate the ingredients. Stirring allows the ingredients to slowly come together, become diluted and retain the clarity of the cocktail whilst avoiding the aeration of the liquids that results from shaking.
Classic stirred cocktails include the Martini, Manhattan or an Old-Fashioned.
But the simple stir isn’t as easy as it looks, as professional bartender Eben Freeman says “stirring techniques are definitely the most challenging for people,” he says. “It has the least margin for error, and it involves the fingers and the hands, and people store a lot of tension in their hands.”
Getting the Stir Right
A cocktail that is stirred with the correct technique will have a superior taste and texture, so how do you do it?:
- Make sure the stirring glass is chilled.
- Add the cocktail ingredients and a scoop of ice to the stirring glass.
- Insert the spoon down the edge of the stirring glass to the bottom and hold the spoon between your thumb and first two fingers, near the top of the spoon.
- Now stir around the edge of the glass whilst rotating the spoon in the fingers. Be careful not to agitate the drink - stir briskly but quietly.
- Stir for about 30-45 seconds or 30-50 revolutions.
- Finally, strain the cocktail into the correct cocktail glass.
Choosing the Right Bar Spoon
Bar spoons are made up of three parts - the bowl, shaft and end. The small bowl and the long, slim shaft means they can reach the bottom of most glasses, and squeeze in narrow glasses filled with ice.
The bowl of the spoon can be used as a measuring and layering tool. Über Bar Tools’ stirrers have reinforced elements that prevent bending and breakage. Plus, the spoon is a very precise 5ml measure, so you can rely on it for accuracy.
The shaft of stirrers is also multi-functional – the twist is sometimes used in layering drinks or bubble reduction when pouring Champagne. The tighter the twist in the rod, the easier to grip and rotate when stirring – the aim of the game is to make it look effortless!
The end of the spoon is where it gets interesting. The Überbartools ProStirrer uses a weighted flat end – perfect for stirring but also great for lightly muddling herbs. Some spoons have a trident shaped end for picking up fruit garnishes, others have a tear drop shaped end for cracking ice, while others have paddle shaped end for gently lifting ingredients in high ball glasses.
The stirrer is an essential piece of kit for any bartender. It makes sense to choose one that is durable and fit for purpose like Über’s Pro Stirrer.
October 23, 2017
Alex Kretena recently was attributed to this quote:
“Bartenders are fed up with the rapid purchase cycle: buy, use, discard, repeat, the new generation wants products with sustainability and purpose."
We call this the Product Paradox.
Since modern means of manufacturing evolved, deliberate obsolescence/product failure was inbuilt into all design to encourage on-going product consumption..meaning breakage, wastage, fatigue.
The result of hidden product design failure: customers having to buy more.
Over the last 75 years it’s been generally accepted that product failure was just a normal part of life, greeted with an accepting shrug of the shoulders.
Aided and abetted by oblivious customers, lining up to rebuy what they’d just bought.
So why then would any right thinking manufacturer design or produce anything better when customers agreed to pay less for progressively worse products?
Überbartools founders by Michael Silvers and Sam Tam, in the early part of this century conceived the guiding principles of the Company, built around 21st century design innovation with quality and sustainability a key to unlock the ground hog day of the Product Paradox.
Ironically bar tool technology seemed to be forever locked into a vortex of failed prohibition inspired design, creating the space for the: buy, use, discard and replace paradigm to exist.
Today’s Millennials think of resources in terms of being limited and therefore requiring careful thought based on the sound principles of sustainability, ergonomics, comfort, speed and efficiency.
The rise of premiumisation has ushered in a new age of design re-thinking where, quality, sustainability and the elevation of craftsmanship are heralded, eschewing the ethics associated with the Product Paradox.
August 07, 2017
It has been said that to be the best, you must learn from the best.
Ask yourself what does it take to be a culinary genius like Joel Robuchon – head chef at Harmony-Lafayette restaurant in Paris at 28 years old and attaining his first Michelin star and has been named chef of the century all before he’s 30.
What about Alain Ducasse, Wolfgang Puck or Anthony Bourdain? What are the habits that these top chefs use that we can take inspiration from?
Habit 1: Planning Is Essential to Success
Great chefs think ahead - from cooking to the financial responsibilities of running a kitchen. The best chefs are highly efficient - they know exact ingredients, where all the utensils are, and how they’ll pace themselves during crunch time. They also understand how to make and save money.
Habit 2: Become the Master of Your Time
When cooking, time is everything. Time management is crucial - utilise your minutes and seconds. A highly efficient kitchen will reduce stress for everyone and keeping diners full and satisfied.
Habit 3: Focus on the Task at Hand
Your office is full of fire, knives and people and you cannot afford slipups. Eliminate distractions, pay attention and keep your mind focused. This skill takes a good amount of discipline, but is essential.
Habit 4: Organisation Is Key
Staying on top of things is crucial. The best chefs not only know exactly how many minutes it takes to prepare each dish in the menu but also how to direct servers in and out of the kitchen.
Habit 5: Innovators Are Always Learning
How do chefs keep ahead of the game, stay innovative and creative? Simple: they're always learning. Great chefs study cooking methods and cuisines of other culture, they experiment, they are constantly on a journey of discovery.
Habit 6: Conscientiousness Pays Off
This comes in many forms: food quality to kitchen practices, personal and food safety, and presentation standards. Top chefs make it a priority to scrutinize everything that goes into their kitchen – from start to finish.
Habit 7: Keep Things Simple
Many great chefs spend hours refining and perfecting their key signature dishes. “Quality over quantity” – offer food that is of top-notch quality, rather than creating a huge variety of dishes that are of mediocre standards.
July 31, 2017
The “Claw of Averages” (COA) is the story of misunderstanding business metrics to create false readings!
Why the CLAW OF AVERAGES... Averaging CLAWs profits by shredding them, making it difficult to see problems or hear warning bells.
Most businesses make sense of figures by mooching up a wide spread of numbers to create averages or dashboards to run their business.
Dashboards position key business indicators into easy view allowing management to interpret and action, if required.
Consider this: a picturesque mountain replete with valleys and surrounding crystal clear lake. Each geographic feature has a separate yet unique value; differentiating it’s individuality from the terrain it surrounds.
Now as unthinkable as it may be: averaging is the equivalent of pounding our mountain into rubble, dumping tailings into the surrounding valley and clean lake to create a flat road.
Ironically the purpose of dashboards or metrics is to highlight exception not hide it!
Worldwide the universally accepted average to monitor the health of a bar business is called Cost of Goods Sold, COGS (total costs divided by total sales)… the figure widely relied on by many bars is 20%. This number (or whichever one is used) provides “visibility” to monitor and measure profits.
Here’s an example of a 20% COGS in an upmarket bar:
So where’s the missing $1.00?
The $1 exists as either over-poured alcohol or maybe worse!
Businesses doing stock or inventory control may say “hang on, we do inventory control… if we lost a buck, we’d see it (in terms of volume and $) in our metrics”; which may in some instances be true.
To answer this refrain: every Ops person on the planet understands that rarely do depletions (stock on hand less POS sales) ever match. To overcome this headache, its standard practice to allow a “few points variation” on the COGs figure, to explain away or diminish the exception! Remember, averaging or COA, generates small unnoticeable ripples, rather than a huge pot hole; unseen due to (statistical) infill!
Averaging a bar’s costs between the speed rail and the premium priced back bar exacerbates the COA problem. The higher potential wastage/loss at the volume speed rail, the easier it is to hide losses within a mountain of extra-ordinary profits created from higher $ value back bar sales (with the greatest disparity between cost price and sell price).
To make the case, imagine a fictitious bar with 6 people in it… here’s the age break down:
- Person 1 10 years old
- Person 2 17 years old
- Person 3 12 years old
- Person 4 16 years old
- Person 5 13 years old
- Person 6 60 years old
- Total Age 128 years
- Avg. Age 21.33 years old (128/6)
The average age (COA) is over 21, the legal drinking age in the US! Yet it’s plain to see to anyone sitting in that bar, there’s just one person capable of being legally served, yet, on average, the view removed from that bar indicates an age of over 21, so is everything fine?
The “Claw of Averages” can make and break a business!
Too often beverage managers, directors and operations people make decisions based on averaged numbers, not understanding the consequences of levelling mountains to create indistinguishable flat roads.
Liquor loss, wastage and worse are pot holes, they’re hard to see unless you know where to look.
The COA is out to get you… now, WATCH OUT!
July 24, 2017
It’s surprising how many start-up bars are so busy getting up and running that owners and managers forget to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
Worm of mouth or negative guest experience is customer catastrophic!
Customers tell us how we’re doing or more importantly not doing... when we think we’re doing great we may not be doing as well as we think... the silent assassins are loudly talking your business down or talking up a competitors at your expense.
July 03, 2017
Ritual is the key to connection
In his seminal piece on the Martini, Luis Brunel famously suggested a perfect Martini was more than "the earthly assembly of mere ingredients".
The key thought here suggests that the mere creation or re-creation of a recipe doesn’t provide the alchemy to transform a drink into a cocktail experience.
The missing part is not the ingredients but the ritual that builds the drinking into an experience.
Many consumers these days can rattle off classic cocktail recipes ad nauseum. Imagine then, if that savvy guest walked into your bar looking for more than just your best; wouldn’t that be the opportunity to offer a cocktail that’ll arouse interest and move to order.
Here are 6 considerations to keep in mind:
Ritual is a combination of visual and serve cues that elevates a drink from being simply a drink, and makes it that cocktail experience. All thanks to that powerful emotional connection between guest and bar.
In our opinion the key elements of ritual are:
Visual – watching the drink be made, seeing the presentation at the end and how these things combine in front of the guest, your audience are the raw essence of your ritual.
Contextual – how all the ingredients, the tools used to create them, the setting of the bar, the final delivery of the cocktail relate to one another, and to your customer.
Emotional – creating that connection between the customer and your business through the ritual.
Structural – the method used to create a cocktail is not only part of the theatre of it, but also part of the customer expectation, and part of the bartender’s efficiency in delivering that drink.
Psychological – how that customer feels about your business relies on the way you manipulate them to feel about it – what are you presenting them, how do you want them to feel about your business and the service they receive. The ritual will evoke a certain feeling about the experience.
Historical – what has existed in the past creates a history that gives something personality and depth – it creates meaning and understanding. The ritual shows off that history, that comfort level and expectation.
Use these key elements to help create rituals in your cocktail delivery, and make your cocktail serve much more than just an embellished drink!
Image by www.freepik.com