When I talk to my friends who, like me, enjoy the occasional adult beverage of the alcoholic persuasion, there is always the debate of what people want in a cocktail. One of my close friends believes that people drink to get drunk. While that might be true of the average fraternity brother, I believe there is a great number of people who prefer to enjoy the taste of a good cocktail. In order to have a good cocktail, there is one thing you need beyond anything else: balance.
A good cocktail should be balanced, and there are four words to remember: sweet, tart, weak, and strong. The idea is to make sure that each of these elements is not overpowering the others. Each taste should cancel each other out; this does not mean, however, that nothing is tasted; it means everything is tasted.
Let’s take a drink as an example. I did a random drink search to find a Seventh Heaven Longdrink, which features Blue Curacao, Malibu rum, Cointreau, orange juice, pineapple juice, cream, lemon juice, and soda water. The juices (which have that sour or tart taste) get canceled out by the cream (sweet) while the alcohols (strong) are canceled out by the soda water (weak). If the recipe is followed properly, then every taste will be enjoyed, and the drink will be all the better.
The other important element to having a balanced cocktail is the importance of other products. If your bar serves food, for example, drinks that are too sweet will fill up the customer, and they’ll be less likely to order food. If it’s too tart, they’ll drink slower, which will also affect how much they buy. If it’s too strong…well, that’s obvious.
The most common reason cocktails are not balanced is typically due to a lack of training. Restaurant and bar managers should understand how to make these drinks properly, and should properly train the staff. Remember: a balanced drink can not only keep a customer longer, but it will keep them spending money, which you ultimately want.
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