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SB Voices: The benefits of bottled booze

From a service point of view, bottled cocktails make sense – but do people miss the theatrics of watching a bartender shaking and stirring? Nicola Carruthers considers the benefits of pre-bottled booze.

Bottled cocktails have transformed the drinks industry – now more than ever we are seeing cocktails bars and drink producers tap into the trend with their own take on the pre-made cocktail.

The bar industry is in full swing with innovation, investment and an amazing pool of talent. So why then do we see an increasing number of bars opting to reduce theatricality and the rattle of the shaker?

Craft Cocktail Co’s Sunset Spritz

While many in the business may scoff at pre-made cocktails, new brands and exciting flavours are proving to be easy to swallow.

For that last few years, bartenders have been making cocktails in batches. Cocktail experts such as Ryan Chetiyawardana and the team at White Lyan, and Tony Conigliaro at Bar Termini, have paved the way for the trend.

The main reason for this is ease – pouring a well-made Old Fashioned from a batch requires less work and time than mixing up a bunch of individual serves.

Pre-bottled cocktails allow mixologists the time to preen and perfect their mixes away from the bright lights, long queues and high pressure of the bar.

Another reason is consistency, pre-made cocktails are guaranteed to be exactly the same every time, even when your bar is full to the brim.

There’s also a wider demand for convenience to consider. Now, with cocktails in bottle or can format at your supermarket, you can get in on some of the cocktail action on your travels or from the comfort of your own home. Not many people have the skill, time, equipment or ingredients to whip up a Mojito or Margarita from scratch every time they feel like it.

Chetiyawardana even launched his range of bottled cocktails, including a Bonfire Old Fashioned and Candlelit Manhattan, into retail, while Conigliaro made his signature serve Classico Negroni available for sale online.

And more recently, London Cocktail Club owner JJ Goodman expanded his collection of bottled cocktails through his Craft Cocktail Co venture, with the addition of a Big Smoke Bloody Mary and Reggae Rum Punch.

I’ll admit that I’ve never been one to choose a bottled cocktail in a bar, but with more and more high-quality options in the category, bottled cocktails are in a midst of rapid innovation and the benefits are huge. It can bring an increased interaction between bartender and guest, well-balanced cocktails and improved speed of service.

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