Culinary Mixology: Creativity, Taste & Style Without Sacrificing Service

Since when did mixology become masturbation? Honestly, watching mixologists behind the bar not talking to the patron, completely consumed by their own muddling, meddling, dashes and squirts for 20 minutes before finally landing the glass in front of the guest who has a camel walking through the desert in their mouths while waiting for their triple-strained Manhattan made from a bourbon crated in a bathtub in a remote forest in Kentucky... What do we really want when we go up to the bar? Something that tastes great, drinks that we want to drink, someone who has a personality and will make us feel welcome, a unique beverage list, and great service. And what do all those things add up to produce? An experience.

If venues didn’t provide a different experience from each other they wouldn’t have names, just beige walls with identical menus, all playing the same tunes in unison. We as quests all want an experience, and we in hospitality all want to provide a unique experience so that everyone knows who and what we are and love us for exactly that.

When it comes to providing this experience it has been largely the thought of these experiential practitioners that service has to slow down and take a backseat to the art of the cocktail. I am here to tell you that when I read the NBC piece (cited at the bottom) it made me smile at the heavens with its direct read of where things are going. I have always believed in educated, witty and imaginative service which evokes people’s “O” face when they taste my cocktails, followed by some sort of remark that highlights the unique experience that just occurred on their palate and in their mouth.

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The truth is, people want a drink. They want it to taste great and your venue wants to make sure that those drinks keep people coming back, which means they need to taste better than the other guy's down the street. That usually means it needs to have an ingredient that the guy down the street either doesn’t have or doesn’t know about. My seminar is all about introducing you to those ingredients and techniques, and showing you how to implement them so that your service is still amazing and the experience found in your venue is above everyone else’s (or at least it’s a unique experience which creates a memory and an identity with patrons). Don’t we all love talking about our favorite memories and experiences? Make everything about your venue from start to finish a moment that everyone wants to relive over and over again.

So raise a great cocktail to the friendly mixologist who creates delightful concoctions while exciting your palate with awesome flavour, and engaging your mind with cunning wit and charm (in a timely fashion). See you in Vegas, baby!

Read "Buh-Bye, Hipster: Why the Friendly Bartender Is Making a Comeback" on NBC.

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