When running a restaurant or bar the question always arises…How often should we change things up? With all of the competition in today’s market the answers vary. Some say monthly, some say seasonally, and some even say daily! The answer is depending on the theme of the bar/ restaurant, Menu updates should happen based upon when you think it should.
Know who your clientele is and what they want. Knowing the pulse of your business is the key to success in any field. Trends come and go but knowing what your customers want is the golden egg. Some people like fancy and complicated while others like simple and sophisticated. Regardless, your cocktails should speak to your customer. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but also perfect the classics. I always say that you can test the skill of any bartender by a Manhattan or Old Fashioned. These simple to make drinks are about balance; dilution is key here. So many people say cocktails are watered down, I tend to agree only because I think the art of craft cocktails has been misrepresented at some establishments. But don’t get me wrong, many mixologist around the world know how to make a great tipple and when I see this, I ask them to teach me… right there on the spot!
I was just at a restaurant the other night (which will be nameless) and I ordered a Rye Manhattan. What I got in return was a Makers Mark, Martini Rossi, and water; it was absolutely terrible. I went to the bar with my drink in hand and asked the bartender to taste it. He did and he couldn’t understand what I was talking about. So I asked him to make another, he did and I watched. When he went to grab the cocktail shaker, I stopped him and asked him if he wouldn’t mind if I showed him something new. I politely told him who I was and what I did for a living and he was more than open to learn. I told him what to use and how to use it and the drink came out perfect. I thanked him for his time and opportunity to learn from him and went on with my dinner for my friends were finally showing up… 20 mins late; thank you LA traffic!! Haha.
After dinner, the manager of the restaurant came by and asked to speak with me. We walked away from the table and he told me that the bartender told him about my cocktail making class and asked me if I wouldn’t mind coming back and looking at the menu and showing a thing or 2 to their bartenders. I said I would be happy to help and we exchanged information. The moral of the story is… Never give up on a chance to learn something new or perfect something old!