The Mixology Talk Podcast, Episode Forty Three

When you walk into a bar you’ve never been to before, here are some visual cues that can help you decide whether to order a classic cocktail – or play it safe with a beer.

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In today’s Episode…

We’re talking about a couple of things you can look for when trying to decide what to order at a bar. There are a lot of different kinds of really great bars out there, and not all of them are the best places to order a fancy craft cocktail. So if you’re wondering when to take the chance, here are a couple things to look for.

Bar Tools and Glassware

If a bar isn’t marketing itself as a craft cocktail bar, it’s unlikely the management will find room in their budget for high end tools and glassware. So take a look: are they using a high end yarai mixing glass, or mixing their cocktails in a pint glass? Have they invested in Julep strainers, or are they using hawthorne strainers for everything?

By the way:

I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing if a bar isn’t doing the things we’re mentioning in this post. I’m saying that their strength may not be craft cocktails.  And of course, this is just a guess – we could be completely wrong!

Mise en Place

What is within arm’s reach of the bartender? There’s a good chance that whatever it is, that’s what they will be using.  So look for things like fresh fruit or homemade ingredients. Personally, I tend to shy away from cocktails if I see things like a large number of shot glasses or red bull!

The Back Bar

Also known as “where all of the bottles are” – you can learn a lot from taking a close look at the spirits they keep on hand. I generally look for three things:

  • Excessive Dust (Not good!)
  • Unfamiliar bottles (Good! They are branching out on their liquor buying.)
  • Again, signs of house-made ingredients (Barrels, bottles, etc.) – Another good sign!

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What do you look for in a craft cocktail bar? Did we miss anything?

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