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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

How to tell if a bar is crappy (before you even order a drink): Part 3

Juice
Juice in cocktails should always be fresh, and it should always be juice. That sounds funny, but most places you go will be using mixes rather than any kind of fruit.
Fresh lime juice in a margarita or fresh raspberry juice in a Clover Club or fresh lemon juice in a Sidecar makes a huge difference on how the drink tastes.
Any place using mixes doesn't care about the quality of its drinks, and therefore doesn't care much about you or your experience.
Also, if you see them using a hose for juice, run away. The only thing that's acceptable to come from a hose at a bar is club soda, and even then it's not the nice experience of having someone open a brand new bottle just for your drink (like they do at the Pourhouse or Boneta).

This does tie in to a much larger issue - the quality of a drink is very dependent on the quality of its ingredients. Making a Manhattan with a canned cherry and Crown Royal is a world of difference (and what can get you interested or disinterested in cocktails) from one with a nice vermouth and an American rye.
However, you can't always judge a bar by what it has sitting on the shelves because often places will put expensive spirits up there just to look cool. If you do end up at a place that has nothing but Gordon's, Crown Royal (did I mention it again? oops), and Martin & Rossi, that's probably a bad sign though.


So, make sure the bartenders aren't using mixes and have at least some sort of fresh fruit at the bar.

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