The first thing that many of us do when we sit down at a restaurant or belly up to a bar is pick up the beer menu, the wine menu, and/or the drink menu. Some of us take a break from old faithful and try something new on occasion. It is for these reasons that we (bartenders and bar managers) develop menus and lists.
Rotating each of these lists is vital to an operation. It keeps you engaged in what we do. Seasonality is a movement in the industry. In a perfect world, this would be the industry standard, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Too many establishments can’t break themselves from the pre-mix sours or hyper-red cherries. We should be giving our customers the freshest ingredients available. Does this mean that we shouldn’t be making margaritas in the winter? Some would argue yes. but I’m not one of them. I know that we need to use bulk ingredients sometimes. We need to buy limes and lemons that come from Argentina or Chile and not just Florida or California. But on occasion, we should try our hands at sourcing verjus (a pre-wine juice that one can substitute for acid) or encourage imbibers to try rice milk instead of cream in drinks. Need for these substitute ingredients is where a drink list comes in.
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