Lets not merge the two ideas of irresponsible drinking and Energy Drinks too closely in this thread.
I have no problem with Energy Drinks on their own per se - I remember vaguely writing about Nootropics and Smart Drugs some years ago - my issue is their use with alcohol.
Take your cocktail for instance. When someone asks you what guarana is are you going to tell them what the internet tells me on a first google:
Guarana powder can be mixed with fruit juice, punch or herbal tea. Daily oral intake should not exceed 3 grams of Guarana powder. As with any caffeine-containing substance, too much can lead to insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure and heart palpitations. Guarana is not recommended for women who are pregnant or lactating.
if so that could well lead to problems could it not? Make people feel this drink is beneficial to their health etc etc.? And is that our role as bartenders?
Its a tricky one and I just feel that we should not get dragged into this and for that reason Alice and Belvedere should not either...
But thats my final word on this topic as (as I have stated) I would love this board to aid good practice and not bad.
I think nutraceuticals and their cocktail equivalent are the extension of a growing trend that includes kidults, 70-year old women having IVF babies and Octomom. Simply put, we all want to to to heaven but no-one wants to die.
I have long considered launching a range of alcohol-flavoured waters, placebo booze if you will, for just this class of oxygen thief. They do not realise that drunkenness is a warning sign, as is obesity or (in the case of Octomom) having more children than you do forks. And it makes no sense to ignore warning signs.
As we all know, it is in fact no fun to be able to indulge without consequences - it is simply unpleasant.15 drinks are not better than 10. They are usually not better than 8. The only fun aspect of excess is telling the story afterwards, not the experience itself.
I don't mean to sound overly contrarian here, and while I might not personally like energy drinks in my cocktails, I posit that there are plenty of people who consume such cocktails, actively enjoy them, and do not over indulge.
Anecdotally, I've served many of them. Most people I've served the ubiquitous Vodka Red Bull seem to be perfectly aware of the deceptive properties of the drink. Perhaps they, like many, have heard the common wisdom, "giving a drunk person coffee only results in a hyper drunk person."
I think we are unfairly conflating the the issue of excessive (and unthinking) consumption with that of caffeinated alcohol.
Personally I'd like to see pure caffeine used in a cocktail, that stuff has the most bitter face damaging properties of anything I've ever had touch my tongue.
Furthermore, I don't think I am remiss in suggesting that as a bartender, it is part of your job to a) educate the customer on any misconceptions they may have concerning the drink they have ordered (ie, that combining guarana with vodka is not a 'wash' as far as their health is concerned), and b) keep an eye on the customer as those affected by over consumption frequently don't notice whether or not they've also had caffeine.
When a bartender "educates" on health issues it comes across as a lecture, and has this odd effect of killing one's tip. I worked at a government run casino where we had to tell customers how much they've had to drink, every third drink. Luckily the casino paid very well, 'cause tips wouldn't of cut it.
The keeping an eye on people is hard enough when most bars understaff, plus caffinated drunks tend to be more beligerant about "not" being drunk.
Pure caffeine isn't that bad. In a prior career I was working will caffeine trying to find unique ways to get out of bed in the morning. I soon discovered that 100mg of caffeine in a shot glass of cranberry juice is a very pleasant way to wake up in the morning. Bitter yes, but you quickly adapt and learn to enjoy it. Caffeine works on increasing dopamine (reward center of the brain), and of course the brain always wants more dopamine.
Darcy S. O'NeilArt of Drink
The whole 'stimulant/depressant' issue really is not at all the concern in any conversation that I have ever had about energy drinks. The concern is really a classist objection: Anyone that drinks that crap automatically shows themselves to be of a class of drinkers that is the apotheosis of what many of us strive to achieve in terms of training the drinking population (I won't even go into the gauche marketing in print and in-house of the energy drinks...). Already, sprits conneseurs, cocktailians and bar professionals have a handful in trying to stem the tide of flavored vodkas on our backbars and in our wells - Stoli Melon Souffle! Absolute Tandori Suprise! Three Olives Tapinade! How are we to continue to see this devolution of the industry while at the same time seeing this new generation of additives making a bad situation worse? Sure, there are the Charbey products that truly infuse their spirits...but that's not the rule... That said, there is one 'energy' vodka that I do stock. There's the oddly named 'Zygo', made in Idaho:
I bought it on a whim and dumped an ounce or two in a mixing glass some fresh lemon juice and Campari - viola! The first Energy Cocktail!
Still though - I never could get myself to naming it...but I never sell just one...
Liberty Bar :: Seattle, WA :: Alcohology
I would be interested in knowing the angle of the article (for, against or neutral).
Like it or not, fads and trends are a part of the booze industry and I would ceratinly not prescribe that journalists should ignore them just because they might be perceived as contentious. However, I also feel that industry professionals have a responsibility to the general public and too many operators jump on the bandwagon, milking the consumer for every cent, and do not consider the social repercussions.
Now I do not see that it would be a sin to serve a vodka red bull. I do not stock Red Bull in my bar, Not because another's health is my social responsibility, but for the same reason I do not stock Smirnoff Ice, WKDs or breezers (or Bud Light / Fosters for that matter). I do not want to encourage the consumers of these products to come to my bar get drunk and alienate my higher end consumers.
I argue with the owners about it, since they want to sell £15 drinks because the potential mark up for these energy drinks are extremely high. In that sense I understand why Imbibe will do a piece on Energising drinks, Profitability VS Selective custom. For a pub it would be fantastic to sell more V &RB at 3 times the price as their Pints. The same as they stock premixed Cosmos and Mojitos.
If my Bosses read this article they might be convinced that other bars refuse to stock this product for the same reasons. So please discuss all sides of the binge drinking V&RB and Jagerbomb phenomenon th the next Imbibe.
I do however doubt that someone who makes homemade fresh, quality ingredients will go through the effort to make a home made energy drink that wil go down unappreciated on the way to oblivion.
Why the long face?
Hi Everyone. I have some information about Guarana Powder which I want to share with you guys.Guarana PowderPurchase a one pound package of Raintree Nutrition's guarana seed powder (Paullinia cupana) which is rich in the naturally occurring plant chemicals that this plant is regarded for. Guarana seeds contain up to 4-8% caffeine (25,000 to 75,000 ppm), as well as trace amounts of theophylline (500 to 750 ppm) and theobromine (300 to 500 ppm). They also contain large quantities of alkaloids, terpenes, tannins, flavonoids, starch, saponins, and resinous substances. Raintree's guaraná has been sustainably wild-harvested in the Brazilian Amazon and has been milled into a fine powder which is suitable to stuff into capsules or to prepare your own teas, tinctures or extracts. To see photographs of guarana.I hope this information will be useful for you guys.
Sure from time to time at 2am in the morning when I am still looking at another hour of service and the arms begin to get tired from shaking all night a Red Bull has stepped in to get me over the line. However I don't stock Red Bull (or the likes of) in my bar for a few reasons. 1: Like many of you I don't like them to be mixed with alcohol as the precieved sobriety it gives the drinker is very dangerous, if they think they are sober and obviously not they can get into a lot of strife, e.g. "Iam right to drive attitude" 2nd: 99% of customers that have asked me for Jager Bombs, double vodka Red Bulls etc are on a mission to get drunk and not out to enjoy alcohol for its wonderful atributes. In my bar we encourage guests that are out for fun but responsibly and those who enjoy great drinks. We have a quote on the front of our menu that goes like this
We at Black Pearl welcome all those merry souls who make drinking a pleasure; who achieve contentedness long before capacity; and who, whenever they drink, prove able to carry it, enjoy it, and remain gentleman.
You might recognise this quote from the front of Trader Vics 1946 book of food and drink.
I for one am very disapointed at Belvedere for promoting such a vodka. I have in the past also seen bars that have included "Organic" sections on their cocktail list promoting a healthy drinking option which I feel is very mis leading as well.