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Mixology: Starting from Scratch

Mixology: Starting from Scratch

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Published by Kyle Branche
Setting up a Bar Program to get Fresh with the Drinks
Setting up a Bar Program to get Fresh with the Drinks

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Published by: Kyle Branche on Feb 28, 2010
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Mixology: Starting from Scratch
Setting up a Bar Program to get Fresh with the Drinks
 by Kyle Branche Unedited version Edited version published - June 2005 - SanteThe proper operation for the flow of all liquids involved in a bar requires attentive individualswith an extra passion and creativity for this culinary art. Preparation is the key to everything behind the bar, and even though there is a little more time and detail in the prep and safe storageof cocktail recipes made from scratch, bringing the botanicals more to life may be exactly thetouch of added personality your bar needs.When a bar specializes by using an organic or natural approach to the mixers, juices, and the popular liquor infusions of the day, the establishment is showing its interests in bringing to the bar the freshest ingredients available to extend to their patrons. This is a program of growth anddevelopment over and during a period of time, which also asks for a level of measurement andflexibility, as well as consistency. The use of the wide variety of organic juices on the markettoday will assist in the labor prep time/product costs equation of affordability, so certain creativedrinks won’t get left out of the loop due to their expense to produce. With over 30 differentflavors to choose from, they not only taste great, but their 
naturally
nutrient filled.A bar manager would take the lead in establishing the wants and needs for a beginning program, having meetings with the executive chef and the general manager to establish an initialcollective of thoughts and ideas to start with. Then a meeting with the bar staff to discuss andinvolve their ideas within the program, as well as their expanded duties. Use of the kitchen’sgalley at desig-nated slow periods of the day or evening for purposes of pan heating specialsyrup preparations such as simple sugar, berry, maple, orgeat, rock candy, grenadine, chocolate,fruits, and even falernum if you can get the recipe right..The kitchen and bar inventory sheets are vastly different in their product listings. The bar manager can examine the chefs product ordering sheets as well as talking with producedistributors in the area for knowledge on what is available, what is in season, and the best timesof the year for the freshest ingredients. This is what will dictate to a degree the change and/or rotation in drink menu selections, as weather patterns shift through the year, which changes thetasting and nutritional interest and hunger of your customers’ palates. Some things change. Somethings stay the same.
 From the Earth to the Bar 
 
Fresh ingredients to be on hand everyday
The following is a listing. What you would seasonally and regularly stock will dependon all of the drink selections for the fresh cocktail menus. 
Fruits
– cherries, grapes, pineapple, mango, papaya, carambola, kiwi, pears, canteloupe,honeydew, oranges, apricot, grapefruit, watermelon, kumquat, apples, peach, lime,
 
lemon, blood orange, banana, pomegranate, plum, guava, raisin, persimmon, date,carob, fig 
Berries
– blueberry, boysenberry, blackberry, red raspberry, black raspberry, cranberry,huckleberry, elderberry, strawberry, caperberry, blackcurrant 
Leaves
– lemongrass, aloe vera, coriander, damiana, java tea, new jersey tea, peppermint,sweet basil, rosemary, sage, thyme 
Seeds & Spices
– clove, allspice, nutmeg & mace, pumpkin, cinnamon sticks, anise,caraway, cardamom, apple spice, mulling spice, vanilla & coffee bean,coriander, grains of paradise, peppercorns, star anise, tamarind, fennel,turmeric, cajun spice, sesame
Peppers
– chili (Fresno, Habanero, Anaheim), jalapeno, serrano, pasilla, pepperoncini,bell, cubeb, sweet cherry, Thai chiles 
Vegetables
– tomato, cucumber, celery, green bean, olive, corn, bell peppers, onion,asparagus, okra, carrot, artichoke, eggplant, garlic, sun-dried tomato 
Roots
– ginger, echinacea, ginseng, radish, sarsparilla 
Advance Prep involved for fresh ingredients.Juices/Purees
 – the selection of squeezers, juicers, and blenders make the task of havingfresh fruit or vegetable juices easy. Prepare early to last the whole day.Can be done during the slow “before the rush” period of the am shift. 
Syrups
– Prepare various flavors by pan heating fruit, raw sugar, and water. The bar manager or executive chef can teach the bartenders the correct method andtemperature for preparation and storage. Muddle and stir for many minutes. 
Sours
– fresh lemon juice, lime juice, and sweet & sour is a bit of squeeze and dissolvetime, so is best to get this done early as possible. For some drinks, fresh lemonand lime are squeezed on the spot. 
Liquor Infusions
 – Depending on the degree of complexity and ingredients involved,putting an infusion together in a jar is a 30–90 minute process.The instilling time is roughly 2–4 days, pending texture. 
Seeds
– Some are ground, some are grated, and others are left alone. Minimal timein advance, or prepared on the spot. 
Leaves
– Dried, fresh, chopped, muddled, or infused. Minimal labor time.
 
 
Vegetables
– Diced, sliced, pressed, juiced, or infused. Prep as needed, minimal storage. 
Infusion note: 
Textures
 
 – Harder ingredients last longer, but usually need to be infused longer as well.Softer selections like fruits and leaves need to be more closely monitored as the flavor will have a tendency to infuse quicker. Therefore, before all the liquid in the jar has beenconsumed, it may be necessary to discard so they don’t turn to mush. Use a sizeable drainladle for ingredient extraction.
Instilling
– Infusing is the process of steeping or soaking without boiling, to
instill 
individual selections of various fresh or dried fruits, berries, seeds, leaves, grasses,spices, herbs, plants, vegetables, hops, and roots into a specifically chosen base spiritfor accenting the flavor beyond the original/natural aroma components initially selectedby the master distiller. 
Fuse Time
– Allow the concoction to infuse for at least 36 hours. Room temperatureinfusions are usually best for the harder ingredients. A cooler temperature infusionusually benefits softer ingredients and helps the fruit to last longer in the jar beforeextraction. It can also stay in the cooler infusing longer. The liquor will absorb theingredients’ flavors. The longer the infusion time, the more flavor the liquor willacquire. I’ve heard of some infused recipes where the fuse time can last up to a week.If you find that too much flavor has been infused, you can add a bit more of the basespirit to correct the amount of flavor to fit your needs. The infusion can stay in the jar for up to 3 weeks if consumed semi-regularly and up to 6 weeks if left alone in a cooler,after the selected remains have been extracted from the liquid and discarded. 
Special Bar organization to accomplish the new tasks
 Depending on how many new tools and products come into the bar will determine wheretheir place of safe keeping will be in the bar. Wash as many tools in the bar as you can.If you need to wash through the kitchen washer, then stay there until they all come out.Take them back to an area in the bar to dry and store. Don’t leave anything in a placewhere it increases the chances of disappearing to who knows where. The storage of newperishable products would be best to also have its own special place, so everyone knows.If there is a product cooler in the back of the bar that is only partially being used, thenmake room for it to have its own designated shelf space, and try to gauge the temperatureto increase the products’ shelf life. Any new dry stock can be kept in safe compartments. 
Special Bar Tools required
 From the restaurant and bar supply house:Quality fruit and vegetable juicer Apple corer Paring knives Sharpening stoneGeneric glass bottle containers Canelle knife (vegetable peeler) Zester (fruit peeler)Whisks Melon Baller Muddler Pestle and Mortar Fruit squeezer Fine grater Infusion Jars with spigots ( 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 12 liter sizes) Funnels CheeseclothLarge cutting board Garlic press Large strainer Atomizer bottles Heating pansStirrers and spoons Antique shakers Medium size towels Aprons Flash blender 

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