Ice, clarity, molecular, shims, aged, carbonized, bottled, fat washed … the list goes on. At this point, you are probably wondering what the hell it is that I am talking about. We are talking about trends, cocktail trends to be more exact. As the world of cocktail bars gets bigger and bigger each year, bartenders are always coming up with new ideas to try and stay on top of their game, while still being able to provide an exceptional experience for their guests. We are in the hospitality industry after all.
One of the ways to give the guests such an experience and the trend that this article will be dialing in on is going past the beer handles and straight to the cocktails and spirits on draft. Wait, cocktails come on draft these days? They sure do, and most of them tend to be pretty rad!
So, what types of cocktails usually come on draft and why do it in the first place? Well, they usually fall into two categories. Booze forward, like a Manhattan or a Negroni, or some sort of “punch,” although there are always exceptions to this rule.
At The Grape and Grain Exchange in San Marco, you can have a shot of Fernet on draft and they will do a cocktail every now and then as well. Mellow Mushroom in Avondale has a Moscow Mule on draft, which is a perfect cocktail to beat the heat of summer, and at Sidecar in San Marco, they have three taps dedicated to draft cocktails that are always rotating.
Something magical happens when ingredients spend that much time together. They blend and meld and become close friends, like being stranded on a raft in the ocean with three to four people you hardly know. What differs from creating a cocktail for your menu and creating a drink on draft is that with the menu item, you have to think about how it tastes in the now and with a draft cocktail, you have to think about how it is going to change over time as the flavors start to snuggle up with one another. The flavors are going to be different in three to five days from the time they were put into the keg or aged in a barrel, as they swirl together or come in contact with the wood from the barrel. Aged in a barrel? Yeah I said it, but that is for another day.
Draft cocktails aren’t necessarily a new thing. They have been around for a few years, and they are a great way to get a drink out to your guests quickly. They are also a nice way to greet new guests who are looking over your menu for the first time or to send them out to a table of regulars as a way to say thank you. Stay thirsty, and I hope to pour you a draft cocktail soon. Cheers!
By Kurt Rogers | Bar Director/Contributor