Bar managers urged to adopt new technology

Trend for 'bar theatre' and the creation of 'flavour highs' is growing
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Sorbet is dropped into liquid nitrogen to create a gin/tonic nitro.
Sorbet is dropped into liquid nitrogen to create a gin/tonic nitro.

The use of specialist beverage equipment and innovative technology will be a big trend for 2012, industry experts have told Caterer.

Up until now, price has been a deterrent to the use of new technology, but as this comes down, mixologists are looking for flavour highs through the use of products such as a rotary evaporator (Rotovap). This removes water, concentrating taste and extracting flavours from herb, fruit and alcohol blends without heating the mixture.

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Beverage manager at the Gorgeous Group, Blake Walker, noted this could be a breakthrough in service, enabling bar tenders to create within a limited time frame.

“There is a shift away from molecular mixology and creators of menus are looking at machines such as the Rotovap to do the work and redistill products with new flavours – this way, all the work is done in the preparation,” said Walker.

“A home kitchen can be designed at the back of the bar to make it easier for staff with fewer skills to create cocktails.”

Another big trend moving from Asia to the Middle East is Polynesian-style bars and lounges, said Monin beverage innovation director, Andrea Fidora.

This means a growth in fruit punches served in large bowls or jugs to be shared among groups of friends. Mahiki at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel Dubai offers cocktails served in small treasure chests, overflowing with dry ice.

Staff at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers are meanwhile working on Gulliver Cocktails for groups that book the private booths: “Central to this will be an interactive element, where the mixologist will prepare the drink in a large bowl in front of guests, involving them in the presentation. The cocktails are then chilled with large format ice cubes and served in large custom-made jugs,” said food and beverage director Nandana Wirasinha.

New on the menu at Amador restaurant in Park Rotana Hotel Abu Dhabi are the gin/tonic nitros, which are served with or without alcohol. The sorbets are created in the kitchen and then dispensed into a bowl of liquid nitrogen at the table from ISI dispensers. It creates small frozen balls that the diner pops into their mouth whole.

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