Importance of a Well-Stocked Bar
Variety is everything; and by variety I don’t mean a million and one flavored vodkas. In fact, the fewer flavored vodkas a restaurant has the closer chance of being a Fine Dining restaurant it has. It’s unnecessary, unoriginal and not to mention cheap. All the best flavors are extracted from natural ingredients; fruits, berries, vegetables. So what if people are used to their orange flavored vodka? A bartender should have no qualms about education the guest on all the other wonderful options out there, getting them away from that which they only drink because it’s what they’re used to. It’s not just lack of flavored spirits either; it’s the abundance of various interesting liqueurs that will inevitably be present in such a restaurant. And I’m not talking about the shitty DeKuyper stuff; I’m talking high end expensive stuff: Chartreuse, Suze, Ancho de Reyes, and many others. Tools are very important. Every respectable restaurant in this day and age will own and utilize Koriko shaker tins, stirring spoons that aren’t your basic ones that you can find in Restaurant Depot, mixing glasses, fine mesh strainers as well as hawthorn and julep strainers. Chances of a high end restaurant having a fruit tray with plastic containers and a lid are slim to none as they are bulky, ugly and hard to clean. Another very important thing is ice. Crescent ice is acceptable in most places but a true Fine Dining restaurant will spend the extra buck on a Kold Draft Machine that produces beautiful cubes that are one by one inches thick and do wonders for your cocktail making. A very interesting gentlemen by the name Eben Freeman, who refers to himself as a Cocktail Master or Guru, once said to me “Your shake should be so loud that people in the restaurant across the street would stop what they’re doing and come over here just to check out what’s going on; you simply can’t reach that with bad ice.” Very true; ice is everything. Another important aspect of a well-stocked bar is homemade syrups and freshly squeezed juices; all neatly organized in nice looking, labeled, identical bottles with metal pourers instead of crappy plastic ones. Last but not least, every respectable bar will carry several books on the subject of mixology and craft cocktailing; not because it’s a way to cheat, but because it’s a way to never stop learning.