There are many things that influence how much a customer will enjoy a cocktail, before it even reaches their lips.
Although the customer themselves may not put much thought into each element; the process, and sequence of small events that occur before the cocktail is presented to them are as important as the drinks itself.
In his seminal piece on the Martini, Luis Brunel famously suggested a perfect Martini was more than "the earthly assembly of mere ingredients".
In order to win at the end point - the point of pour - a success must be made of the beginning and middle, too. There are many subtleties that affect the entire sequence of events and it’s down to the bartender to ensure that this paradigm is on point.
So what factors make up a winning point of pour paradigm? Here's what we think...
First things first, and perhaps a little obvious, but getting your ingredients bang-on is essential. From the brands of liquor you select - ask yourself, how does that cheap bulk brand look to a customer? - to using fresh fruits and juices where possible; getting the ingredients right is essential.
As is measuring those ingredients accurately to get the perfect balance! For bakers, measuring is imperative when it comes to baking the perfect cake. And the requirements for a bartender to make a top-notch cocktail are just the same.
2. Well-trained staff
No business runs effectively with staff who are under par. The better trained and equipped your staff are the more likely you are to meet customer expectations. Also, it helps keep your business profitable – badly poured drinks = profit down the drain.
Each bartender should know what tools to use for which cocktail, in order to create a super-satisfying drink. For example, cocktail shaking might look good, but is it the appropriate method? Muddling, swizzling, stirring and shaking all have their place behind the bar – it’s important to pick the right method and have the bar tools to enable that cocktail to be made in the correct way.
It starts with a customer noticing your leaky pourer and ends with an inaccurate jigger spilling onto the bar. Just a simple thing like investing in quality, easy to maintain tools can mean that you are pouring drinks more accurately; making your cocktails more consistent; and making your customers happy. All whilst not wasting extra liquor - remember, we want to be able to afford more premium brands!
That is presentation, not only of your drinks, but your surroundings too! Let's rewind for a sceond to when your customer stepped into your business. That's the point they started judging you - Your customer is forming opinions of your bar before they’ve even walked in the door, and first impressions count. Your venue style should have substance that you can then back up with your drinks menu.
From that then comes the presentation of the cocktail. Even if your customer has missed everything else up until this point, this is the bit they’re probably paying attention to – what their drink looks like when it lands in front of them. It’s more than just getting the glassware right, it's the ritual of the serve and the final flair with your garnish.
So our point here (pun intended) to look beyond the ‘point of pour’ and invest in skilled bartenders, the best ingredients, efficient tools and a great backdrop. When all that is in place, you’re guaranteed to win at the point of pour.