Creative Mixology

Creative MixologyClassic cocktails may be making a comeback (see our earlier blog post), but don’t overlook the need for creative mixology as well. For many bar and restaurant patrons, new and different is the name of the game. Sure, there are folks who order the same drink every time or who define variety by ordering something different on tap, but others gravitate toward trendy. For them, creative mixology is the answer.

Case in point: the Most Imaginative Bartender competition, sponsored by Bombay Sapphire & USBG. The national winner of the competition was Julio Cabrera of Regent Cocktail Club and Fifty Lounge at Viceroy Hotel in Miami, FL. The national finals were held in Las Vegas in September and featured 51 of the nation’s most talented mixologists, according to FSR. Cabrera advanced to the world finals to be held in London next year. For 2013, the Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender title went to Matto Vanzi of Italy.

Molecular Mixology

According to American Bartenders School (ABS), molecular mixology is a trend. This type of creative mixology uses non-traditional ingredients and flavor combinations typically associated with liquid forms and converts them to cocktails that may be solids, foams, sprays, and sometimes smoke. Although ABS suggested the trend is impractical for anything other than a cocktail competition, the Tampa Bay Times reported in August about bars and restaurants featuring these types of cocktail creations.

Various cocktails included a rum, fruit and coconut alcoholic pudding served with a spoon; a mescal-based cocktail that “drinks like a meal” with muddled yellow tomato, basil and sea salt; a margarita that included cucumber and frozen cucumber juice as ice cubes; and a variation of a whiskey sour that contains a grilled half lemon right in the drink.

Reasons to Hire a Creative Mixologist

Restaurant Hospitality’s “Splashy Cocktails” delineates several reasons to hire a mixologist:

  1. Profit: High-end restaurants typically make 20 to 30 percent margin on drinks. A $15.00 cocktail means a lot more to the bottom line than the entrée it may accompany.
  2. Expertise: Plenty of programs are popping up around the country to certify bartenders as master mixologists, elevating them to a status equivalent to that of a sommelier.
  3. Secrecy: The Prohibition era is the new “throwback,” and plenty of bars are now recreating the aura of the old speakeasy… and Millennials are drinking it up, literally.
  4. Sex: Fancy cocktails have typically been the domain of women. Women like them; men like to buy them for women who like them. You get the picture.
  5. Ingredients: Chefs seek the freshest ingredients they can get their hands on. Creative mixologists do the same – jarred and bottled ingredients no longer cut it.
  6. Pairings: Like pairing foods and wines, cocktails partner well with many dishes. Recommend a creative cocktail in lieu of a wine.
  7. Indecision: The best bartenders aren’t order takers. With creative mixology, they can offer something new and different… and very memorable to patrons.
  8. Just One: Not every bartender in the establishment needs the know-how. One creative mixologist can train others and really impact the profit margin.
  9. Now Starring: Creative mixology has brought theatrics back to the bar that transcends “flair bartending” and attracts customers’ attention.
  10. 10.  Promotion: Creative mixologists develop cocktails for various occasions, and successful bars and restaurants use those for a launching point for promotions.

Creative mixology can certainly set your bar or restaurant apart from your competitors and boost your bottom line. After all, ever heard of a winner of “the most ordinary bartender” competition? Didn’t think so.

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