4. LIQUID CULTURE: Batching and Bottles
If barrel- and bottle-aging cocktails is all about patience—Young waits about a month for his Brooklyns, Conigliaro lets his Manhattans rest for a year plus—batched and bottled cocktails are all about expedience. Trendy forebears like Heublein Spirits, with its Goulet-backed, barrel-aged, and bottled “Club Cocktails,” might make the practice seem like a kitschy concession to convenience over quality. But this time around we’ve got master mixologists doing the bottling (no celeb-cred required). At Clyde Common, Morgenthaler preps, carbonates, and caps anywhere from 200 to 500 bottled “Broken Bike” cocktails for instant service at Clyde Common (Morgenthaler’s version is a Cynar-phile’s take on the classic Euro-sipper, La Bicicletta). And we’re seeing the same thing in Austin, with Bill Norris working to perfect a cocktail batching-and-bottling program to quench pre-movie thirsts at the modern dinner (drinks) and movie spot, Alamo Drafthouse. We’re not sure if batching will take off—though it seems like godsend for high-volume bars. But the question (to be answered in 2012?) is whether standards will keep pace with batch volume.