Expert Advice on Hospitality Topics

Bar Management: Standardizing & Optimizing Serving Practices

Posted by John Cammalleri on Thu, Apr, 12, 2012 @ 08:04 AM
By Chris Parry
Atlantic Publishing

Part 2 of 3: Ensure Quality & Avoid Wastage

Mixed Drink Tips

cocktailsMaking a good mixed drink isn't always a matter of A + B = C. In fact, there are numerous small details that can contribute to turning your creation into something just that little bit better than the norm and, more still, that can help you keep your ingredients at peak freshness and productivity. Consider the following:

  • Champagne wastage. Many mixed drinks require champagne or sparkling white wine as an ingredient. Opening a fresh bottle for one drink can be wasteful. Consider purchasing a champagne bottle resealer for your bar, and make sure your bar staff knows how to use it.
  • Keep champagne fresh. If you have a steady flow of champagne drinks in your bar, just drop the handle of a metal spoon into the top of the champagne bottle and put it back in the fridge. This will keep the sparkle in your champagne for up to 12 hours.
  • Is fresh-squeezed orange and lemon juice a selling feature of your cocktail menu? If so, you should know that you'll get a lot more juice from lemons and oranges if you soak them in warm water for a while before juicing them.
  • Stir, don't shake. When a mixed drink consists of clear liquids and/or carbonated beverages, stir it - don't shake it. You don't want your clear liquids to bruise, nor your bubbles to go flat, and shaking the concoction guarantees both will happen.
  • "Difficult ingredients." Mixed drinks containing juices, sugar, eggs, cream, milk, or any other difficult-to-mix ingredient should be shaken - and shaken like crazy. Don't just give the contents a three-second rock around the mixer; give 'em heck!
  • Adding eggs. When you shake a drink that requires an egg, add an ice cube to the shaker. This will help break up the egg and allow it to blend into the drink more easily.
  • Prevent dripping. When serving wine or champagne from the bottle, a clean piece of wax paper rubbed along the rim of the bottle will prevent any dripping when you pour.


Serving Quality Drinks

QualityThe difference between a good and great martini is very small, but very important. The quality of your cocktail menu should be of paramount importance to you. The methods by which those cocktails are prepared should be a point of pride for all concerned.

  • Presentation. The color and presentation of any exotic mixed drink is key, and by adjusting the amounts of key ingredients, the bartender can not only change the color of a drink, but can also adapt it to suit any taste. Impress the customers by asking how they like their drinks mixed. Would he like it sweet? Does she like it dry? Maybe a little easy on a key ingredient? Often they'll have no preference, but in asking you'll impress the finicky customer.
  • The process of drink creation can be as important as the drink itself. A little showmanship in the preparation of a drink may slow the process down a touch. Also, if the performance is good and the bartender shows personality, your customers might not mind a little longer wait.
  • Garnishes. Maraschino cherries, olives, a sprig of mint, a stick of celery, banana, lemon, lime, all carefully prepared, an investment in fridge space, and a bartender who is quick with a paring knife - they can all set your mixed drinks off with a sparkle. The right garnish is as important as the right ingredients.
  • Novelty glassware. Most bars consider glassware as merely a vessel in which to serve drinks, but the clever operators see that using exotic and novelty glassware and building the cost of the glass into the drink price can bring customers flocking to that drink in order to get the free glass.


This article is an excerpt from the Food Service Professional Guide to Bar & Beverage Operation, authored by Chris Parry, published by Atlantic Publishing Company. This excerpt has been reprinted with permission of the publisher. To purchase this book go to:

Atlantic Publishing Company

Topics: Bar inventory, bar efficiency, bar profitability, Bar drinks, Bar Management, drink recipe, bar control, Drink Recipes

Bar Management: Standardizing & Optimizing Serving Practices

Posted by John Cammalleri on Mon, Jan, 09, 2012 @ 11:01 AM
By Chris Parry
Atlantic Publishing

Part 1 of 3: Establishing House Drink Recipes

A bartender makes a good drink with originality, panache, speed and skill - but a great drink starts with the boss. You determine the drink menu, you determine the recipes to be used and you set the price and make the rules. Your staff just follows your lead. In many bars, it's left to individual members of staff to know the "standard" formulas for cocktails and mixed drinks. Everyone is supposed to know that a Tequila Sunrise has one shot of tequila, right? Or is it two? Maybe it's a shot and a half... Profits are too hard won to just throw away alcohol when your staff crosses their wires about your drink recipes. Some easy steps to ensuring standardization of your house recipes include:

  • Recipe lists. Make sure when you take on new staff they receive detailed recipe lists to take home and look over before they start their first shift. It doesn't cost you a lot to photocopy a few pages of text and give them to your staff, so make sure there's no excuse for them not to know as much as they can before they start mixing on your dime.
  • Recipes on display. Ensure that there are either laminated index cards or recipes listed behind the bar at all times so that any member of staff - even emergency fill-ins and temps - can see exactly what is needed to prepare each drink - no more, no less. Below is an example of a recipe card and the information it should contain:
drink recipes

  • Cocktail menus. When you leave cocktail menus on tables, make sure that each one shows exactly what is in the drink - not just the ingredients, but the ounce amounts of each. This will not only serve as a more informative drink menu to your customers, but will also allow them to more accurately measure what they've consumed over the course of the night.
  • Premium ingredients. If you use premium or middle-shelf ingredients in your cocktails, make sure that your cocktail menus make a point of that fact by showing the brands used. There's no point in hiding the fact that your base spirits and liqueurs are of a higher quality than those of your competition, especially because your liquor distributor might chip in for some of the cost of printing if they're being marketed in your literature in this fashion.
  • Accuracy. Make certain that the cocktail and mixed-drink recipes give a clear indication of what glass is to be used, what garnish should be used, for how long and on what setting any blended drink should be blended and what brands of alcohol should be used for their creation. If you leave anything out, you can bet someone will get it wrong - and with alarming regularity.
  • Bartending recipe computer programs. For example, Interworlds Software's "BarBack for Windows" can tell your staff how to create a drink even if a customer asks for something ridiculously obscure. BarBack includes over 10,000 different drink recipes, as well as information on glassware, ingredients, mixing methods and garnishes. Rather than taking away from the skills of your staff, insightful programs such as these actually complement their skills to ensure your customers get exactly what they want in the quickest possible time. BarBack can be downloaded at .


This article is an excerpt from the Food Service Professional Guide to Bar & Beverage Operation, authored by Chris Parry, published by Atlantic Publishing Company. This excerpt has been reprinted with permission of the publisher. To purchase this book go to:

Atlantic Publishing Company

Topics: inventory managers, Bar inventory, bar inventory levels, Bar staff, bar profitability, alcohol, NightClub Management, bar business, Bar Management, bar control, Drink Recipes, controling costs, liquor products

Drink Recipes and Their Impact on Cost Reductions and Profitability

Posted by Nick Kaoukis on Tue, Sep, 06, 2011 @ 11:09 AM
drink recipesBy Elizabeth Godsmark
Atlantic Publishing
Just because mixes aren't a drink's main ingredients, one shouldn't ignore their impact upon your operation's profitability. There is considerable scope for trimming costs in this area. Despite being sold in small portions, drink mixes have a high overall sales volume; it is also predictable and consistent. Review the range of drink mixes used in your establishment. It all helps to reduce costs.
  • Fresh orange juice. It is worth investing in a good commercial juicer for orange juice. A handy tip is to rinse oranges under hot water before placing them in the juicer - the juice yield will be higher.

  • From scratch drink mixes. Preparing a whole range of drink mixes from scratch is too time-consuming, and all too often, results in inconsistent quality. You're better off buying ready-made mixes. Test samples of mixes before making a decision. Prepared mixes can vary considerably in taste and quality.

  • Cut garnish costs. Your choice of garnishes to accompany drink mixes can, quite literally, eat into your profits. Bartenders are notorious for nibbling olives, cherries, pineapple wedges, chocolate shavings, peppermint sticks, pretzels, etc. Remove temptation. Store garnishes in airtight containers in a cooler, away from temptation. Also, establish par levels for fruit garnishes and only prepare enough for one shift.

  • Unusual juices. Use single-portion 6-ounce cans for less-frequently-served juices. Trade higher cost for reduced wastage, time saving and convenience.

The recipes you choose to feature on your drinks menu must do more than satisfy customer require­ments. Plan carefully; a lot of thought needs to go also into keeping costs down, while at the same time maintaining a fine reputation for quality and imagination. This is no mean task, but the following simple suggestions may help:
  • Communicate your recipe preparation techniques. Add a brief description about your unique preparation techniques underneath each recipe on the drinks menu. Tempt your customers to try "something different." The secret lies in your method of communication, rather than in the actual recipes themselves.

  • Highballs. Although highballs can be served in a variety of different-sized glasses, the ideal size for maximum efficiency and controlling costs is a 9-ounce glass. It accommodates the exact proportions for a standard highball recipe. The glass looks full to capacity; the customer is happy. Also, you know that the portions of ingredients are correct.
  • Recipes on napkins. Dare to be different. Get some recipes you want to promote printed on napkins. It's different, and it's a good marketing tool. It also channels customers into ordering the recipes that you want them to buy. Choose the "special" recipes on the basis of higher profit margins, but promote them as "added value" recipes.
  • Mobile mini-bar. As well as serving recipe drinks from the main bar, introduce a mini-bar on wheels. Get a bartender to wheel it around, selling "taster recipes" at promotional prices. The spontaneity of this approach is excellent for generating extra income.


This article is an excerpt from the Food Service Professional Guide to Controlling Liquor Wine & Beverage Costs, authored by Elizabeth Godsmark, published by Atlantic Publishing Company. This excerpt has been reprinted with permission of the publisher. To purchase this book go to:

Atlantic Publishing Company

Topics: Bar Management, drink recipe, Drink Recipes

A Great Cocktail Server

Posted by Nick Kaoukis on Wed, Jun, 22, 2011 @ 12:06 PM

by Bob JohnsonBar, nightclub server

In an adult nightclub, cocktail servers are required to do much more than simply take orders and hand out drinks. According to bar management ex pert Bob Johnson, there are several nuances that, if employed correctly, can turn a good cocktail server into a great one.
In part two of this two-part series, Johnson  provides servers with detailed information on how to  properly handle  house and serving policies, while  offering dentitions on some common drink ordering  phrases.

Part 1:

How important are servers?

The server is the main person that interacts with the customer during their visit to your club.  Being a good server is perhaps the most difficult job in the bar business.  It requires many skills, a mature attitude and a great personality.  You should reconsider the ago old adult entertainment theory of turning a cocktail server into a dancer.  A cocktail server who can easily converse with customers, gives great service, remembers names, remembers drinks and shows personality is more effective on the poor than being a dancer on stage. Plus, they are more accessible than a dancer.  The following  article  provides  detailed information for cocktail servers on how to properly  administer  house and serving policies,  and includes  dentitions on some common  drink ordering  phrase s.  Being a good cocktail server  means more than just taking orders and bringing drinks; hope fully, this article will help de ne their roles in a  successful adult nightclub.

Topics: Bar staff, Bar trends, NightClub Management, Nightclub Consulting, Drink Recipes

Get your “Rocks " Off!! Drink Recipes

Posted by Nick Kaoukis on Tue, Mar, 29, 2011 @ 12:03 PM
e-mail: ", web page
phone number: (800) 447-4384

Get your “Rocks ” off with  the Black Russian, Old FashioLongIslandIceTeaned & Daiquiri 

In this part of our series on contemporary drink making, bar management expert Bob Johnson examines  some of the most popular “Collins”  glass drinks  including the Long Island Ice Tea,  the Tom Collins and everybody’s favourite hangover cure, the Bloody Mary. 

Collins” glasses are usually 12-16 ounces, and these glasses can be used for a variety of drinks.  Here are some of the more popular drinks served in a Collins glass.

Long Island Ice Tea

This drink has been a consistent big seller in the 19 to 35 age group.  It’s a “quick” drunk. 

Customers who order Long Islands need to be carefully watched.  How fast are they drinking the Ice Tea?  How long between re-orders? The traditional recipe for the Long Island Ice Tea is: 

Collins glass  filled with ice; 1/2 shot of Vodka,Gin, Rum, and Triple Sec; Sweet and Sour mix to 4/5 of the glass; add coke to the top; shake; garnish with a lemon wedge/straw.

There are many variations, including:

(1)  Use Tequila in the recipe.  Many Midwestern bartenders will tell you that a Long Island Tea with Tequila is a “Texas Tea.”

(2)  Consider using non-alcoholic Triple Sec. 

It’s cheaper ($3-4 per bottle) as compared to the Triple Sec that contains alcohol ($7-9 per bottle).  Triple Sec is nothing more than a  flavouring agent. When mixed with other liquors and ingredients, the presence of alcohol in Triple Sec is meaningless.  All we care about as mixologists is the orange flavour we get from using Triple Sec.  Triple Sec is the domestic substitute for Cointreau. 

(3)  Make an Ice Tea using Blue Curacao instead of Triple Sec; it’s now a “Blue Tea.”

(4)  Use 7-Up (not Sprite) and cranberry juice instead of Coke and it’s now a “Long Beach Tea.” Also, if you’re measuring 1/2 ounce shots, use the small side of the jigger (3/4 oz.) and pour below the top of the jigger.  Put in 1/2 shots of Vodka, Gin, Rum, Triple Sec into small side of the jigger.  Or simply have your bartenders “free pour” 1/2 ounce of liquor one at a time directly into the glass. Bartenders who pick up and pour the four bottles at the same time make the drink wrong. Usually more of one liquor comes out. Great “show,” but a lousy drink. Instead, consider premixing the four liquors into a separate container along with the sweet and sour mix if you get a lot of calls for this drink.  If you’re high volume, your bartenders could save valuable time by-passing the steps of picking up each of the four liquor bottles.  De nightly pre-mix the liquor for the service bartenders.

Next Up Vodka Collins…..

Topics: Bar drinks, Classic drinks, Drink Recipes