The Batching Trend

Creating Cocktails on Draft and Slushy Machines

Since the craft cocktail scene’s revitalization over the last 20 years, spirit companies have seen huge increases in sales, particularly over the last 10 years. The thirst for craft style cocktails is still growing, so how do we give guests a craft experience without having highly trained craft technicians on staff? The answer is batching.In January 2017, the BC government released a number of liquor policy changes as part of their ongoing efforts to “reduce red tape.” Many licensing and operational changes resulted, but one that really helps craft bartenders is batching. Batching cocktails with quality spirits, fresh juices, and house-made syrups gives a sense of craft, consistency, and prompt service in everything from beer halls to neighborhood pubs and cocktail bars.

Here is where the Cornelius Keg and the Slushy Machine come in. The Cornelius Keg is old tech. Used by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo before the bag-in-box technology we know today was adopted, canisters would be filled with pop and pressurized similar to beer kegs. Pop was then pressed out of taps or guns for bar service. So why not use the same technology to push a cocktail on tap through a line?

The Cocktail on Tap Trend

The Cornelius Keg is easy to use, a snap to set up and best of all it allows for a consistent product to be served to your guests in busy bar environments or in bars where you would otherwise need a skilled mixologist to prepare your Negroni or Old Fashioned. The Rosewood Hotel Georgia serves incredibly high volumes so they have three cocktails on draft systems, which rotate with the cocktail lists to take the pressure off the bartenders.

Aligal, a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, which is used for sending beer through the lines, is also used with the hotel’s cocktail on draft system. One advantage is there are no oxidized citrus juices or vermouths, things that are susceptible to change when introduced to the air.

PRO TIP – Don’t forget the dilution! When making your batch, add the suitable amount of water that you would otherwise get from preparing the cocktail by shaking or stirring.

Slushy Machines

The Slushy machine is also old tech. Machines to make frozen beverages were invented by Omar Knedlik in the late 1950s. The idea for a slushed ice drink came when Knedlik’s soda fountain broke down, forcing him to put his sodas in a freezer to stay cool, which caused them to become slushy.

Now we have the adult version of slushies. #Frozee is trending this year. Freezing wine into a slushy-like substance is brilliant and craft bartenders can’t wait to see some Freezling out there (frozen Riesling).

It’s fun to take quality recipes for craft-style cocktails and freeze them into a delicious summer beverage. Don’t just make Bellini slush, but what about Moscow Mules in a slushy format? How about a Pina Colada! The options are endless. Just use quality spirits, fresh juices and house-made syrups then away you go! Be creative and enjoy!

PRO TIP – The sugar ratio or ‘brix’ as well as the ABV play an integral part in getting just the right freeze rate. Make sure you play around to get the consistency you are looking for.

Fun Fact

Manitoba was crowned the Slurpee Capital of the World for the 17th year in a row in 2016. 7-Eleven stores across Winnipeg sell an average of 188,833 Slurpee drinks per month. The rest of Canada sells an average of 179,700 per month, which makes Winnipeggers the world leader of Slurpee sales.

Robyn Gray is the Head Bartender at the Hotel Georgia in downtown Vancouver.  He is also Secretary of the Canadian Professional Bartender’s Association.