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Serving Drinks Correctly

Written by The Restaurant Doctor UK Team
Last Updated: 29th October 2023

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Serving drinks is not just about pouring the spirit in a glass and topping it up with a mixer. It is an important part of customers' enjoyment, and there are a few things to consider when serving a drink. These include the type of glass to be used, the mixer to accompany the drink, the measure of the spirit, any extras required to enhance the drink, and the temperature of the drink.

Types of Glass and What is Served in Each Type

The choice of glass can greatly affect the presentation and taste of a drink. Different types of glasses are designed for specific drinks and are chosen to enhance the drinking experience. Here are some examples:

  1. Highball glass: This tall, slim glass is perfect for mixed drinks that are topped up with soda or juice, such as a gin and tonic, a whiskey sour or a Long Island iced tea.
  2. Martini glass: This iconic, stemmed glass is often used for cocktails such as a classic martini, a cosmopolitan or a margarita.
  3. Wine glass: Wine glasses come in different shapes and sizes for different types of wine. A white wine glass is generally smaller with a narrower bowl, while a red wine glass is larger with a wider bowl.
  4. Champagne flute: This tall, narrow glass is designed to show off the bubbles and aroma of champagne and sparkling wine.
  5. Shot glass: This small, straight-sided glass is used for serving small amounts of liquor, such as a shot of tequila or whiskey.

The Mixer to Accompany the Drink

Mixers can greatly enhance the flavour of a drink and are often used to dilute the strength of spirits. Choosing the right mixer can make or break a drink. Here are some common mixers and the drinks they are typically served with:

  1. Tonic water: Goes well with gin and vodka.
  2. Soda water: Goes well with whiskey and rum.
  3. Ginger ale: Goes well with whiskey and dark rum.
  4. Cola: Goes well with rum and bourbon.
  5. Orange juice: Goes well with vodka and champagne.
  6. Cranberry juice: Goes well with vodka and gin.
  7. Tomato juice: Goes well with vodka.

The Measure You Serve

The measure of spirits used in a drink can greatly affect its strength and taste. It is important to use the correct measure to ensure consistency and to avoid over-serving customers. Here are some common measures for spirits:

  1. Single shot (25 ml or 1 oz): Typically used for spirits such as vodka, gin, and whiskey.
  2. Double shot (50 ml or 2 oz): Typically used for spirits such as rum and tequila.
  3. Jigger (15 ml or 0.5 oz): A small measuring device used to ensure accuracy when pouring spirits.

Extras To Be Offered With Drinks

Offering extras with drinks can enhance the drinking experience and add a personal touch. Here are some common extras that can be offered with drinks:

  1. Garnishes: Such as lemon or lime wedges, olives, or cherries, can add colour and flavour to cocktails.
  2. Ice: Can help to cool down a drink and dilute the strength of a spirit.
  3. Salt or sugar: Can be used to rim the glass for drinks such as margaritas or daiquiris.
  4. Straws: Can be used to sip drinks that are served in tall glasses or to stir cocktails.

The Temperature Of The Drink

The temperature of a drink can greatly affect its taste and enjoyment. Here are some tips for serving drinks at the correct temperature:

  1. Glasses should be chilled before serving.
  2. Mixers should be chilled in the refrigerator or with ice before serving.
  3. Draught beer should be served at the temperature recommended by the manufacturer, which can vary depending on the type of beer.
  4. Wine should be served at the correct temperature, as different wines have different ideal serving temperatures. Here are some general guidelines for serving wine:
    1. Sparkling wine: Served chilled, around 4-10°C (40-50°F).
    2. White wine: Served chilled, around 10-16°C (50-60°F).
    3. Red wine: Served at room temperature, around 16-18°C (60-65°F). However, some lighter-bodied red wines can benefit from slight chilling.
  5. Spirits should be served no warmer than room temperature, around 20-22°C (68-70°F). Serving spirits too cold can numb the taste buds and mask the flavours of the spirit.

In summary, serving drinks correctly involves choosing the right glass, mixer, measure, and extras, and ensuring that the drink is served at the correct temperature. Taking these factors into consideration can greatly enhance the drinking experience for customers and ensure their satisfaction.

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