Have you ever tried something homemade and thought to yourself, “they should bottle that”? Maybe it’s your grandmother’s famous rhubarb jam or your cousin’s spicy, Cajun peppers. You know if they just got off their butts and patented their amazing products they would be billionaires overnight. If not billionaires, at least they could finally quit their 9-5, dreary desk jobs, right? SOMEONE CALL SHARK TANK!
The bartending world is no different. Ideas come and go and it’s up to those willing to step up to the plate to turn “cool idea!” into a functional product. Here are five times people got it right:
Bartenders from coast to coast have added olive juice to cocktails for decades. It’s one of the key ingredients for the dirty Martini, but until recently, mixologists were merely getting the juice from a jar of olives. Los Angeles-area bartender Eric Tecosky had a thought. “We were constantly running out of olive juice while our olives rotted away in the dry jar.”
Plus, the juice in the jar isn’t always the highest quality. “It’s just there to keep the olives from spoiling,” says Tecosky. He wondered why nobody bottled the juice on its own. That’s why he founded Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice. “Dirty Sue was embraced with open arms by the local LA bartenders and that’s something that made me really happy.”
Plus, you can make like a pickle back and pair a shot of olive juice with a beer for a fairly unique experience.
With the increase in the craft aspect of mixology, guests are seeing more and more bartenders emphasizing the use of home made syrups and infusions. Max Messier and his wife have kept a constant watch on the emerging cocktail renaissance over the past decade. “As the syrups market grew it became obvious that there was significant dearth of specific types of syrups built for classic cocktails enjoyed by the general public since the American Cocktail’s invention in the late 19th century,” says Messier.
The current syrup market was overflowing with just simple syrups built to jazz up your vodka or whiskey and a numerous amount of “Ready-To-Drink” solutions, i.e. Margarita mixes, etc., while the relatively smaller component syrup selection was only meeting the needs of Gin & Tonic lovers and Tiki enthusiasts. That’s how the New Orleans-based Cocktail & Sons came to be. “We decided to build a line of component syrups which emulated how we built classic cocktails for the guests sitting in front of us with emphasis on fresh juice and good booze as our partners-in-crime.”
With the return of popularity of classic cocktails came a resurgence of interest in the Gin & Tonic. Tom Richter, founder of TOMR’s Tonic was tired of using store-bought tonic water and realized he could make it better. Richter doesn’t make fizzy tonic water. He makes tonic concentrate and that’s the only thing he makes. “I needed a better tonic. It wasn’t out there so I made it.”
He says that bartenders are really enjoying experimenting with it and not just for G & Ts. “Creative people are putting it in everything from old fashioned type cocktails to coffee cocktails to beer and mezcal cocktails. It is basically a potable bitters with sweet and acid built in.”
The Moscow Mule has increased in popularity in the last few years. But, the cocktail (made up of vodka, lime and ginger beer) demands a well made ginger beer. “We felt that most ginger beers were in-adequate for better cocktails,” says Jim Pickett of Pickett Brothers, makers of Pickett’s Ginger Beer Syrup. “When mixed with ice and liquor, many of them lost their spice and intensity of ginger.”
They saw a need for a bolder ginger beer designed for cocktails. Their first ever customer was the famous Employee’s Only cocktail bar in New York City. The syrup can be used to make Moscow Mules, Dark n’Stormys and any other cocktails that require ginger flavors. Plus, you can probably add it to your soda stream and make your own extra spicy ginger beer, too.
It’s easy to go out and buy a bottle of gin, rum, whisky or any other spirit. It’s just as easy to purchase any number of ingredients to craft a delicious cocktail. That doesn’t mean that said cocktail, upon completion, will taste anything like a similar cocktail made at your favorite bar. Since we aren’t all trained bartenders, a few smart individuals have taken the work out of the mixed drink experience and made their own pre-mixed bottled cocktails.
Famed bartender Charles Joly has his own line of cocktails he calls Crafthouse Cocktails. His pre-made cocktails include: the paloma, the moscow mule and the southside. Their are other brands too, including: The Watershed Distillery Old Fashioned and High West Barreled Boulevardier. Just crack one open and pour it over ice. What could be more simple?