Should cocktails be served on tap?

6th April, 2018 by admin

Yugnes Susela, head bartender at Smoke and Mirrors, Singapore

I have not worked with kegged cocktails before and personally I’m not a big fan of having them in bars. The drinks are stored in the kegs for quite some time, and it might be difficult for bars to guarantee the freshness of their cocktail.

At Smoke & Mirrors, we freshly make each cocktail for the customer, and when you do this, there’s a personal touch in every drink that you make.

I also taste every drink before I serve it to make sure that there’s never a compromise on the quality of the drink. I think it would be hard to guarantee this freshness if the drinks come from kegs. Freshly making each drink also makes for a good Instagram story or social media post.

I think cocktails in kegs could only work when perishable ingredients like citrus are involved – it may be a good idea to keg the cocktail to extend the expiry date. However, I think I’ll always personally prefer the freshly made cocktails, and this method also helps me to work out because I get to shake it out!

The Piña Colada is my favourite cocktail to make. It may seem easy but it’s quite a technical drink. This is the kind of drink I think shouldn’t be kegged or pre­-made as its full of fresh ingredients, such as coconut cream. I don’t think the Martini would work in kegs either. You need to get the dilution right and you need to aerate the cocktail, which comes from stirring. Without these factors, it won’t taste authentic.

Some customers might like the idea of cocktails on tap, but I think most guests would still prefer a freshly made cocktail. Cocktails aren’t cheap in Singapore, and I’d usually order a beer if I wanted a drink from kegs.

However, one of my favourite local bars, Oxwell & Co, does cocktails in kegs and it works really well for them because it’s a mass­-volume bar. I think the kegged cocktails concept will only work well in certain bar operational structures. I don’t think kegs are the future of cocktails – it’s more likely to be something like sustainability.

At Smoke & Mirrors, we source our herbs from local farmers and one cocktail on our menu, called Mighty Duck, incorporates the Peking duck fat that is usually thrown out by the kitchen.

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