Small Batches: That’s the Spirit!

Given the rise in popularity of craft beers and local food, it was only a matter of time before the artisan spirits industry would be taking off in the United States as well. Once associated with bootlegging during the Prohibition era, the distilling of small batch liquors actually now accounts for approximately 400 small U.S. distilleries – and they’re producing a variety of spirits, ranging from bourbon to rum, vodka, and gin. Among those small distilleries are Sag Harbor Rum, based in the South Fork of eastern Long Island, NY – as well as a number of Illinois-based whiskey producers, including Koval, which is located in Chicago, where it produces a single-barrel, gluten-free organic bourbon whiskey. Evanston-based Few Spirits, as well as the Lake Bluff areas’ North Shore Distillery, are also on the list. Read more

Mezcal and Tequila Tips for Bars and Restaurants

To a tequila novice, the strong, agave-derived liquor (sometimes maligned by the nickname “to kill ya”) may stir up connotations of summer evenings made cooler by salt-rimmed margaritas served on ice (or even images of their frozen, slushy counterpart, churned into a glass with a slice of lime). Certainly, yes, this is one good use for the distinct, flavorful liquor – at least for the less aged variety that carries a sting of flavor many can only tolerate with salt and lime. For that matter, tequila’s smokey relative, mezcal, is starting to make the rounds in cocktails these days, too, with varying degrees of success. However, the truth is that a truly good tequila or mezcal is a soothing liquor that warms the body and is perfect – when unadorned by mixers or garnishes – for sipping slowly on a cold winter’s night, in much the same way one might nurse a fine Scotch.

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Vodka to the Rescue: Back to Basics

How can you help when a patron wants to order a drink but isn’t sure what to get? Customers who like beer or wine may sometimes be in the mood for something new (or just be open for a pairing suggestion), but what about when the patron isn’t a beer or wine drinker and is just in the mood for some kind of cocktail? Face it: most liquors are very much an acquired taste – with their own, unique flavor that not everyone might appreciate. (Just ask anyone who’s ever had a bad night associated with tequila or whisky; they’ll never forget the distinct flavor). Wouldn’t it be nice if there were such a thing as a basic, unflavored alcohol that you could mix with almost anything to suit whatever mood your patron was in?

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Bitters: The Secret Ingredient for Profits

When customers come in to your bar or restaurant and nurse a single drink for hours, it can kill your revenues. Not only is the customer a slow turnover, they also aren’t providing any extra business through ordering more drinks. What’s even worse is if the customer has simply ordered a well drink and sips on that forever. Today, we’re going to talk about a way that you can interest your customers in ordering more drinks while also increasing the price of each drink. If you’re looking for a way to increase profits on your well drinks especially, bitters may be your answer. Read more

The Bloody Mary Recipe for Success

The creation of the Bloody Mary recipe was traditionally attributed to Fernand Petiot, a bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in 1924. He named his invention the “Bucket of Blood,” but the name didn’t catch on (thank goodness). Ninety years later, the world is still crazy for Bloody Marys, and the make-your-own Bloody Mary bar has become a selling point of many brunches. If you’re considering adding a Bloody Mary bar to your restaurant brunch menu, we think that’s a bloody good idea. To help you out, we’re offering a few ideas for recipes and garnishes to get you started on the right track, as well as a primer on what you should keep in stock at your do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar.

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scotch uncorkd

Do Your Servers and Customers Know About Scotch?

Scotch has a mystique to it that makes contemplative businessmen swirl it in glasses, makes mothers shy away from it, and makes posing frat boys glug it… but what the heck is it? Here is your definitive guide to Scotch: short enough to teach your staff, and flexible enough to add to your digital wine menu. Read more

5 Sexy Drinks to Add to Your Restaurant’s Valentine’s Day Menus

Are you tired of offering the same tired Valentine’s Day champagne cocktails year after year? Here are 5 mixed drink ideas with sexy themes that you can use to mix up your digital wine and spirits menus this year, courtesy of talented mixologists from all over the US. Cheers to your restaurant’s success on Valentine’s Day! Read more