Category Archives: Bartending

What to know when buying a blender

Blenders are essential to make frozen drinks at the bar but they are also necessary if you are making your own sauces or soups. There are plenty of blender types so make sure you gather as much information as possible to buy the right blender for your kitchen.

Bar Blenders

  • Capacity: If you serve a lot of frozen drinks then you will need a bigger blender jar that way you can fill multiple orders at once.  Start by determining what size drinks are on your menu.  The larger drinks you serve the larger jar/container capacity you will need.
  • Material: Commercial blenders come in plastic, glass, and stainless steel. From an esthetic perspective, glass and plastic may be good for you if your guests like to watch their drink being made. However, if you have stainless steel appliances and want your blender to fit in, then go with a stainless steel blender. Stainless steel blenders also offer the most durable material.
  • Power: Blender power is measured in horsepower, so the higher the horsepower the more powerful the blender.  You will need more horsepower if you are mixing frozen fruit or other solids. Also take into consideration the thickness. The thicker the drink, the more horsepower you are going to need.
  • Control features: Most blenders will only have an on/off switch but your drinks may require a high/low, pulse, or timed feature. Make sure to consider these convenient features to increase efficiency and serve drinks faster.

Food Blenders

  • Size: Determine how many blended products (sauces, salsa, purees) you serve every day. Your blended cup can range from 32oz to 1 gallon. You want to take the amount of servings you push out every day and figure it in terms of ounces. If you put out 25-50 servings of soup then you should consider a 40+ oz blender. If you have over 100 servings then you should consider a gallon-sized blender.
  • Power: Like many machines, a food blenders’ power is measured in horsepower. If you are that business pushing out 25-50 servings of soup every day then a ¾ horsepower blender will be sufficient. If you are the business pushing out over 100+ servings a day then you will need a 3+ horsepower blender.
  • Control features:  An on/off switch is sufficient if you are doing light blending. A pulse switch is a good feature to consider if you are prepping for beverages. If you are a medium-heavy food prep kitchen then you should look into a time feature and 2 or 3 speed controls.


Soft Drinks Face Continued Challenges

The soft drink world has faced constant problems in recent years, all stemming from a perception and link towards increased obesity rates in America. With soft drinks being traditionally high in sugar, they find themselves in the crosshairs of politicians and dietitians. While New York avoided a “sugary drink tax,” the concept has not disappeared.

The International Business Times reports that New Zealanders find themselves in support of limiting the amount of sugar that can be included in soft drinks. 46% surveyed “definitely” support a limit, while 32% “possibly” do. Less support the concept of taxing sugary drinks, but 46% agree on a tax. A greater 59% prefer a limit on serving size. While New Zealand has no plans to introduce a tax (and Coca-Cola claims that it “cannot solve the obesity crisis”), the World Health Organization does cite the country with one of the worst increasing obesity rates and fast-food consumption. Taxing sugary drinks would help curb obesity, if only to encourage people not to drink them.

A tax has been proposed for Illinois, though. Akin to the New York proposal, it would tax any sugary drink, adding one cent per ounce, and would add a $2.88 tax to each case. Companies and retail establishments fear the loss of sales from the drinks, especially when the tax on a case of drinks might be about the same price as the case itself. California is also proposing a bill, SB 1000, that would require a warning label on any drink that was sold in stores with added sweeteners, featuring 75 or more calories per 12 ounces stating “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.” For restaurants with self-serve drinks, it would be on the dispenser. Restaurants that keep drinks behind the counter would feature it on the counter. While many companies have featured voluntary labels listing calories on bottles, many are opposed to this new enforced labeling.

It may not require taxation or special labeling to curtail the consumption of sugary drinks. Coca-Cola reports that 2013′s revenue was not as what was expected: global sales did not rise as much as they wanted, and US sales actually lowered.

Coca-Cola said on Tuesday that global sales volumes rose 1 percent in the quarter and 2 percent for the full year. Volumes in North America fell 1 percent in the quarter, while those in Europe grew just 1 percent as consumer spending remained subdued.

Coca-Cola is joined by Pepsi in reduced sales in America and other developed nations, as people reach for healthier options. In hopes of improved sales of their drinks, Coca-Cola bought a 10% stake in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, known for their Keurig coffee makers; Coke is looking to use their technology and mindset to develop an in-home beverage dispenser. Meanwhile, they look to save $1 billion in productivity improvements, and will funnel that money towards advertising.

Have you noticed a slip in soft drink sales in your restaurant, and do you have any plans to combat that? How would you handle taxes or new labeling requirements?

The World Of Mocktails

Some people like the taste of alcoholic drinks without chancing drinking and driving, or otherwise abstain completely from alcoholic beverages. “Mocktails” are the safe-to-drink variations of cocktails, and with one of the most iconic mocktails, Shirley Temple, having its namesake pass away this week, it’s a great time to look at a drink (and a range of drinks it is included in) that she made iconic.

Common Mocktails

Arnold Palmer, Shirley Temple, Freddie Bartholomew, Roy Rogers, and even Virgin Mary: these people may have nothing in common, outside of the fact they’re inspiration for mocktails. What does it take to make each of these?

  • Arnold Palmer: 50% lemonade, 50% iced tea. When you can’t decide what cold drink to have for refreshment, go for this one.
  • Freddie Bartholomew: ginger ale and lime juice.
  • Shirley Temple: ginger ale (or lemon-lime soda), splash of grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry. Commonly, this can be made alcoholic and named “Shirley Temple Black”, her adult, married name, by the addition of vodka.
  • Roy Rogers: cola and grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry.
  • Virgin Mary: a non-alcoholic version of a Bloody Mary, containing tomato juice, Tabasco sauce, and garnished with a celery stalk.

Beyond these named for famous people, there are other mocktails that stand on their own.

  • Virgin Colada: a non-alcoholic version of the Piña Colada, combining cream of coconut and pineapple juice, garnished with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.
  • Gunner: ginger beer or lemonade combined with ginger ale and a dash of lemon juice or lime cordial, and a dash of Angostura bitters (while considered non-alcoholic, bitters are 44.7% alcohol).
  • Lemon, Lime and Bitters: lemonade, lime cordial, and Angostura bitters.
  • Tortuga: Much like American Sweet Tea, a Tortuga is iced tea with brown sugar, garnished with cinnamon and a lime wedge.

Why might you want to look into serving mocktails?

Cost Efficiency and Safety

Many people might like these drinks when they’re in a situation where they can’t drink. Offering mocktails allows them to have a unique drink, but also allows you to not tap in to your expensive alcohol offerings. Some people may even want to look like they’re drinking (to act as if they’re keeping up with friends), so mocktails might allow them to continue a night without pressures from friends.

One way to even encourage patronage with non-alcoholic drinks is to offer free drinks to designated drivers. The designated driver concept is an honorable one for many bars and restaurants; in a good night of drinks and debauchery, one pal might opt to be the designated driver. While everyone else can enjoy their drinks with alcohol, he or she can have free drinks at the cost of not being alcoholic. One way to institute this program is to offer the designated driver a wristband; this wristband will indicate to staff, bartenders, and waitstaff that they’re not to have alcoholic drinks, but can have free drinks.

Mocktails can keep the world safe, and increase your profitability. Don’t make the mistake of skipping them on your menu.