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DrinkBoy: Definitions and Precisions

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Top 100 Contributor
Posts 21

The "Old way" made drinks are not better or worse over today's way of making drinks, excluding the ones made with commercial sour mixes. They just reflect different time in the history. There are about 40 -50 cocktails left from that time that withstood the test of time and became classics. Every bartender should know them, make them as there intended by their creators, if known, and at the same time being flexible to adjust them according to the palate of customers is serving. 

Why the customers don't ask about these cocktails as much as the fruity concoctions and shooters, depends, not only on their lack of information, but also on the their sensory perception, palate and age as well as establishment use of menu. The menu should be used as a tool to advertise and inform the guest of the offered items and covey the idea of professionalism. The problem here is that lots of time the menu is created by someone who doesn't know much  about the classic cocktails or think that  by including the moderns drinks only will have better sales and faster return on investment. I think the cocktail menu should have three main section, Classic one -  the "Old way"  drinks, the Contemporary section - the cocktails the creator of the menu is believing to sell the most and the third section will be the Mixology - That's were drinks inspired by the MOM techniques can be included. The drinks in this section can be rotated every month, can be used also to involve the staff in cocktail creation, involving the staff as part of the menu creation will potentially increase the sales.

Regarding the new generation of upcoming bartenders and their knowledge of Sazerac, Collins and Juleps will depend on us. If we stop discussing these drinks, offer them on the menus, making them, thinking of them as something of the past and therefore inferior, then for sure the new bartenders will think of the Harvey Wallbanger and Strawberry Daiquiri  as their classic drinks. As whether the MOM will be the new thing, which everybody will want, I certainly hope not, will become a fad and will be gone in no time. I'm looking at MOM as set of tools available to bartenders to surprise their guest, to create new experience, as opportunity to learn something new on a professional level. Think of these set of tools in the same way as using shaker, muddler, or stirring spoon to accomplish the desired result. Making Solids, Perls or Dust it's not about showing how good the bartender is, it's about providing great customer experience, being innovative, learning all the time and thinking of the bartending as craft.

Top 100 Contributor
Posts 18

Great thread.

For 10 cents - The resurgence of known and forgotten classics in bars, magazines and on the web, and the pursuit of their history and technique has led to a rich variety of great cocktails being rediscovered. History is always useful to learn from and can be a rich source of inspiration. Likewise the research by food scientists, molecular gastronomists and chefs has given us some wierd and wonderful techniques based on scientific understanding of the ingredients used. The fusion of these has been popular as well as perfection at either extreme and maybe something new will be born from it? Without pioneers in any field of endeavour stagnation is the only other option.

For me the most important learning from dabbling with some of the newer "MM" techniques is the underlying idea that:
"The Desired Technique should not dictate the Result, rather the Desired Result dictate the Technique."
I.E. As Val stated, the techniques should not be seen as separate, but part of the existing arsenal of methods, shaking, muddling etc already used to get the best out of quality ingredients and used to acheive the real end result - guest satisfaction. I wanted recently to excite a child-like enthusiasm in some guests and so the use of a candy floss (cotton candy) machine was great fun; the aroma of a fairground to make one large and and one mini cotton candy used for a Cotton Candy Collins was greeted with delight, especially as one of the candies was a garnish to enjoy or sweeten your drink as needed. An unusual technique to use in a bar setting to some, the idea came from wanting a certain result.
MM or MOM is also not one of my favourite terms either, I'm not a scientist.
How about "Sensorial Cocktails", creations that actively seek to engage the senses in a special way? I want cocktails based on sensations, engaging the senses, and if they happen to use some different crazy techniques and ingredients to acheive that, then so be it. They may also take their ratios/general style from history. Just musing...

As an aside, from a practical point of view many "drinks" created this way are of the showcase variety rather than useful in a busy bar. However they may still serve to provide inspiration for all.

But both MM and Classics share the idea of respect and knowledge of the ingredients used. In MG, Definitions are abundant, it's based on science for an artistic result. For cocktails in general, even using the historical classics as a base, Precisions seem more the order of the day with early recipes changing from book to book. A difficult but worthwhile excercise in methodic thinking certainly, but what of the more random nature of cocktails, their evolution constantly hazy, the recipes refined (or butchered) by generations of bartenders and thousands of bars?
Was the classic way the best? One person here mentioned having classics sent back in favour of "poser juice". Some classics certainly are which is why they are as good to today as ever. Have tastes just changed? I've seen orders go from Woo-Woo's to Martinez's and even every UK pub seems to have a go at a Mojito these days. Of course we need to keep searching and pushing for perfection, for the whole world to drink better is a fantastic ideal. Contrary, how about we let this random spiralling continue unabated, without the variety of good to bad drinks would we know the difference between a Manhattan with rye, or one without?
Whenever either paths of thought are embarked upon, historical accuracy or molecular gastronomy and mixology, many questions always arise.

In conclusion, i feel that Robert's project to lay down the Definitions and Precisions in the outline given is a tremendous way to start to categorising this chaos while allowing the chaos to creatively move forward by establishing Precisions. The framework allows for structured thinking which is an essential attribute. For me, as long as the end result is satisfaction of the person you are making the drink for, then any knowledge that can bring us all closer to that goal is a winner.
Should that include newer techniques and ingredients learned both from history (the Boadas roll being a great example) and science (seaweed derivatives to create new textures being popular)? Of course. Is it necessary? Generations of creatives have spoken of necessity being the mother of invention.

So I propose a toast to History and Science, to Chaos and Order, perfectly balanced one to one, with a dash of Necessary Invention bitters!

Merlin Griffiths, Global Ambassador, Bombay Sapphire

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