How to Execute Cocktails On Tap
Beer is no longer the only thing you can keg. These days, businesses are putting cocktails on tap in addition to their regular lineup of beer, cider, wine, etc. Traditional single-serve cocktails are classic, but putting them on tap gives them a needed upgrade to provide your customers with delicious, ready-to-go drinks. It's also operationally efficient, providing speed, accuracy, and a better bottom line.
Benefits of Serving Cocktails on Tap
Ready to make consistent cocktails every time? Providing cocktails on tap for your customers ensures they receive the perfect pour every single time, and it’s easier to execute than you might think. With the right draft cocktail setup, you’ll improve the restaurant experience for operators and customers.
Perks for Operators Serving Cocktails on Tap
- Speed and Precision: A key benefit of draft cocktails is their ability to come out exactly the same every time. This means your team can create high-volume batches and deliver consistent beverages in seconds.
- Drink Samples: It’s easy to offer samples of different cocktails with kegged drinks. Providing pre-batched cocktails allows guests to try different drinks without committing to one too soon. Offering drink samples will improve customer satisfaction and help guests make decisions or try something new.
- Less Waste: When working in a fast-paced environment, individual cocktails can be rushed and made improperly, resulting in wasted ingredients and unhappy customers. Draft cocktails are measured by a tenth of an ounce, so there are no unnecessary pours when serving cocktails on tap.
- Ease Pressure: A crowded bar can be highly stressful for any bartender (especially when working with new, inexperienced bartenders). With kegged cocktails ready to be served, bartenders can serve drinks quickly and easily without rushing to find the tools and fresh ingredients needed to mix a drink on the spot.
Perks for Patrons Enjoying Cocktails on Tap
- Convenience: Guests won’t need to wait for a bartender to mix their drinks. Instead, the cocktail that they want will be ready right on the spot.
- Cost: Thanks to draft cocktails, customers can sample drinks before buying a full one, so they won’t need to waste money on a cocktail they don’t like. Additionally, bars can offer draft cocktails at a low price thanks to operational benefits and increased margins.
- Taste: Bartenders mixing individual cocktails run the risk of inconsistent measurements, but this isn’t the case with cocktails on tap. Customers can expect consistent taste with every new cocktail poured.
ESSENTIAL Equipment FOR COCKTAILS ON TAP
Draft cocktails require some special equipment. Exactly what you need will depend on the extent of your cocktail program.
A large measuring container will ensure that all batch cocktails are made the same way each time.
A simple scale will also help with precise measurements to ensure consistency across batches.
Batching and Cocktail Recipes Best Practices
Now that you have all of your tools, it’s time to get started with batching cocktails. In a nutshell: if you’ve got draft lines, you can serve draft cocktails.
In a broad sense, batch cocktails are similar to individual drinks, but the proportions are scaled to meet the needs of your bar or restaurant. Before getting to work, remember that making the perfect batch will take some practice if you’re new to the process. Test batches are always a great idea until you find your perfect ratio of ingredients.
Average cocktails are typically around six ounces, and a standard five-gallon keg can hold 640 ounces. That’s more than 100 cocktails in every batch. When putting together your large-batch cocktails, you’ll want to make sure that the container you’re using has a bit of extra room to allow for the ingredients to be properly mixed together.
How to Create the Perfect Pour
When putting together your big batch of cocktails, there are a few things to keep in mind. Like any regular cocktail, there will be some trial and error before nailing down a flawless ready-to-go drink. Check out this list of best practices for kegging cocktails.
To have the perfect draft cocktail, make sure you:
- Have an ice machine nearby and ready to go.
- Use a keg agitator, such as the Micro Matic Spinstick Mixing Base, to avoid separation.
- Clean the lines at least once a month with professional cleaning tools or local service. Drinks with intense flavors (like coffee) can leave behind unwanted tastes and impact the quality of your next batch of cocktails.
- Add the date the batch was created on your keg to know when a fresh batch is needed. Any batch that uses fresh juice should be used within five days. Otherwise, the taste will turn a little funky.
- Diluting: Pouring a draft cocktail over ice doesn’t dilute it the way shaking or stirring would. To compensate, you need to incorporate water into your recipe. Alternatively, you can stir or shake a kegged cocktail with ice before you serve it, but then you are reintroducing some of the à la minute labor you were hoping to eliminate. As a general rule, factor this equation into your batch recipe: Stirred cocktails = 12% dilution of total liquid volume. Shaken cocktails = 18% dilution of total liquid volume.
Try to avoid:
- Using ingredients that might clog the lines, like pulp-heavy mixtures.
- Using ingredients that will go bad quickly.
- Keeping carbonated batch cocktails in storage spaces above 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
Classic Recipes to Get Started
- 6 liters of Vodka
- 1.4 liters lime juice
- 10.3 liters of ginger beer
Add water and combine. Serve on the rocks in a copper mug and garnish with fresh mint leaves and a lime wedge.
- 5 liters Reposado Tequila
- 3.5 liters Agave Syrup
- 1.5 liters orange juice
- 3.5 lime juice
- 4.5 liters filtered water
Combine all ingredients. Serve over ice in a margarita glass with a coarse salt rim and a lime wedge garnish.
- 3 liters Whiskey
- 3 liters Campari
- 3 liters Amaro Montenegro
- 1 liter filtered water
Dispense cocktail, top with two dashes of Angostura Bitters, and Garnish with expressed grapefruit peel.
How Cocktails on Tap Have Transformed The Drinking Experience
More and more restaurants and bars are incorporating kegged cocktails into their rotation of drinks. It comes as no surprise that the keg market is expected to grow by 4.5% between 2023 and 2033. Hotels all over have joined the draft cocktail bandwagon since they can serve a variety of options from one customizable dispensing unit. Thanks to cocktails on tap, bars, and restaurants can offer drink flexibility while increasing profits. Plus, guests are amazed by how quickly they can get a drink in their hands.
After utilizing Micro Matic’s Beverage Station, Director of Food & Beverage at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, Chris Brown, noted that “Being able to serve beer or house-made cocktails on tap on four faucets is a great selling piece for our customers. Our guests love that they can get draft beer, wine, or cocktails in banquets; this is a new trend we will see a lot more of in the future!”
The most profitable option regarding beverage profitability is draft dispensing since kegs produce a far bigger profit margin than bottles or cans. The Beverage Station used at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes provides the hotel with a chance to generate revenue in a way they had not previously experienced.
Micro Matic’s range of keg-to-glass technology is an excellent resource to help you begin your journey with kegged cocktails. Our team of perfect pour experts is dedicated to finding the right solution for your beverage needs. From craft beer to nitro cold brew coffee, we're here to support all of your on-tap needs - and craft cocktails are no exception. To learn more about how you can introduce cocktails on tap in your business, contact us today!
Learn More about the Micro Matic Beverage Station
Introduction to the Beverage Station
Maintaining the Beverage Station
Batch Cocktail Recipes for your Cocktails On Tap Program
The Benefits of Serving a Variety of Drinks On Tap
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EVERYTHING ON TAP
For over 60 years, Micro Matic has been recognized as one of the world’s leading suppliers of draft beverage equipment. Specializing in keg-to-glass technology, we offer a total solution for meeting beverage equipment needs. Our dedication to customer service is supported by four regional sales and distribution centers, the Micro Matic Dispense Institute for training and education, and a Certified Installer Network for installations. Want to speak with a “perfect pour” expert? Contact Micro Matic today.