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Bar Essentials Buying Guide

Is there nothing so exciting, so delicious, so refreshing as a perfectly mixed drink? The layers of color, the multiple levels of flavor, the beautiful blend of recognizable tastes dancing with daring dashes of your favorite liquor, all of these things magically meld in a mixed drink to make memorable (or sometimes not so memorable) nights for your customers. If you're planning on starting a new bar, you should be familiar with the science of crafting drinks, also called "mixology". In this guide, we'll take a look at several key components to help your bar staff become proficient professors in the field of mixology and craft the coolest cocktails in town.

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

These common bar drink ingredients are used in literally thousands of drinks and a large inventory should be on hand at all times.

Triple Sec- Usually non-alcoholic ingredient that adds orange flavor to drinks. Used in Long Island Iced Teas, Cosmopolitans, Margaritas, Hurricanes, Grateful Deads, Mai Tais, etc…

Grenadine- Non-alcoholic ingredient used to add color and pomegranate flavor to drinks. Used in Shirley Temples, Tequila Sunrises, Singapore Slings, Shark Bites, Roy Rogers, Bahama Mamas, etc…

Bar Syrup- Also called Simple Syrup. Non-alcoholic ingredient used to sweeten cold drinks, where it is more difficult to dissolve sugar. Often used in Caipirinhas, Mojitos, Sloe Gin Fizzes, iced tea, lemonade, etc…

Lime Juice- Non-alcoholic ingredient used to add heavy lime / citrus flavor to drinks. Used in Margaritas, Red Deaths, Tonic Drinks, etc…

Bitters- Flavor extracts infused in an alcohol base that are used to add subtle spice flavor and aroma to drinks. Used in Old Fashioneds, Mochitos, Manhattans, Sazeracs, Bahamas Rum Punches, Island Breezes, etc...

Coco Real Cream of Coconut- Your pina coladas and other tropical drinks will be the best in town. Coco Real is made with coconut meat rather than coconut milk, and comes in a convenient squeeze bottle.

Coco Lopez- As a perfect blend of coconut cream and natural cane sugar, Coco Lopez helped make the original pina colada!

The Mixes

The Mixes

Bar drink mixes help your bar staff make popular drinks faster, to maintain a consistent service time frame and taste, and to keep customers happy. Because they are premixed, bar drinks mixes also cut down on prep time. They are often available in value added, bulk 1 gallon bottles that will need to be transferred into smaller store and pour bottles, or smaller, ready to serve 1 liter bottles with convenient pourer tops. For more detailed information on cocktail mixes, be sure to check out our Cocktail Mix Buying Guide.

Sweet and Sour Mix- A sweet mixture of citrus flavors used to make a variety of drinks like Whiskey Sours, Midori Sours, and Amaretto Sours. Sweet and Sour mix is also an ingredient in many popular mixed drinks such as Long Island Iced Teas, Daiquiris, and Alabama Slammers.

Margarita Mix- A heavily lime based blend of citrus flavors used to make virtually every type of margarita.

Cosmopolitan Mix- A blend of a variety of fruit flavors including grape, orange, and lime used to make Cosmopolitan martinis. Cosmos are an all-around great drink for social events or a night on the town.

Daiquiri Mix- Often referred to as puree mixes, daiquiri mixes are normally a single fruit flavor used to make daiquiris or even fusion style margaritas. Daiquiris are traditionally blended drinks which are popular profit power-houses especially at bars with outside decks. We offer 10 different flavors of daiquiri / puree mixes.

Tom Collins Mix- A refreshing blend of lemon, lime, and grapefruit used to mix Tom Collins cocktails. A Tom Collins can be served as a blended drink or simply mixed over ice, depending on your customer’s tastes, which makes it a popular Summer drink.

Mojito Mix- An unmistakable blend of fresh mint flavor and lime juice used to make another popular Summer drink, the Mojito. Mojito mixes are often available with infused mango or passion fruit flavors, like our Rose’s Mojito Mix, which lets you add more options to your drink menu.

Smoothie Mix- Flavorful additions to thicker bar beverages, smoothie mixes are designed to add a savory taste evenly throughout slushies and similar beverages. They are often available with fruit flavors, like strawberry, mango, and banana.

Bar Juices- Also used in non-alcoholic beverages, bar juices are your typical flavor additives. Apple, lime, pineapple, and a variety of other juices add a sweet or sour bite to your beverages for a refreshing taste.

The Equipment

The Equipment

These key pieces of bar equipment will help your bar staff quickly prepare almost every type of drink your customers can order.

Pourers- Liquor pourers are available in measured or standard varieties. Measured liquor pourers are sold based on the amount of liquid dispensed with each pour. They help you save money by controlling portion sizes and reducing spills, making them ideal for beginner bar staff. Professional bartenders often prefer standard liquor pourers because they provide a steady flow and help speed up service.

Shakers- The bar shaker provides a fast and easy way to both mix drink ingredients and chill cocktails with ice at the same time. To separate the ice from the drink while pouring, be sure to keep a number of bar strainers on hand.

Speed Rails- Speed rails keep popular drink mixes and spirits close to your bar staff at all times, which helps speed up service on busy nights and thus the name. They are normally made of stainless steel and have drain holes for quick cleaning.

Bar Blenders- Blended drinks are some of the most popular menu items, especially during the busy Summer season. Our powerful Waring bar blenders make preparing blended drinks fast, so your bar staff can get back to other customer orders. To find the bar blender that's right for you, you can quickly and easily compare a variety of units with our Blender Buying Guide or by checking out our commercial blender reviews.

The Glass

The Glass

Making the best cocktails in town means very little if you cannot serve them in the proper glasses. The right bar glass makes your drinks look better and complements the decor of your bar, especially when cleaned properly. Here are some styles of bar glasses that every bar must have on hand.

Mixing / Pint Glasses- Mixing glasses are the most versatile type of glassware in your bar. They can be used to serve beer, soda, and a variety of “tall” drinks. Also, mixing / pint glasses are often used behind the bar for drink prep.

Martini Glasses- The martini is quite possibly the most popular cocktail, which is why there are hundreds of different martini recipes out there. Likewise, there are hundreds of styles of martini glasses, so it is important to find the style that best suits your bar’s personality and ambiance.

Shot Glasses- Shot glasses, sometimes called whiskey glasses, are also available in a variety of styles and sizes to suit your bar’s needs. Also, shot glasses are often used behind the bar to measure ingredients when a jigger is not readily available.

Beer Glasses- Beer glasses are important all-purpose glassware that can be used to serve virtually anything. Different beers are best served in their own specialized glasses for the best flavor, quantity, and presentation. To make sure you're using the right glassware for the right beverages, check out our Beer Glass Buying Guide.

The Garnish

The Garnish

Presentation is just as important as taste when it comes to mixed drinks. That is why the process of making incredible mixed drinks ends with selecting the ideal garnish for your glass, perfected with garnishing tools. Here are three drink garnishes that no successful bar can live without.

Rimming salts and rimming sugars are used to flavor and color the rims of margarita glasses and martini glasses. To store and apply rimming salts and sugars quickly and conveniently, pick up a few of our glass rimmers / margarita salters.

Cherries can be used to garnish any fruit based mixed drink. They are also used to garnish a variety of blended drinks and dessert drinks, like Mudslides.

Olives are a popular garnish for martinis. They are often skewered on a drink pick and placed along the side of the glass prior to service. Our drink olives are available in both Queen and Manz styles.

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