It may not seem like it to an inexperienced eye, but cocktails actually take a lot of experience and knowledge to make. If just one measurement is off, a classic drink can taste horrid. When a bartender puts together a cocktail, they have to know what they’re doing to ensure that the customer gets what they’re asking for; they also have to watch what they’re doing to ensure they don’t inappropriately distribute the bar’s stock and cost the bar more money than they’re supposed to. Each little detail has to be perfect.
So, with the sudden boom in ready to drink cocktails, you’re probably wondering if all that expertise can really be crammed into a can in a manufacturing plant?
Well, the answer might surprise you. First, ready-to-drink cocktails absolutely can be just as good as one that is crafted by hand in a bar. Why is that, though?
Let’s take a look.
1: Machine Precision
Even experienced bartenders can make mistakes, and they often do. They work quickly to serve as many customers as possible in the shortest amount of time. So, they can frequently under or overpour a specific ingredient, and the entire flavor of a cocktail can get thrown off. This is why you might have noticed your drinks being weaker or stronger with each bar visit.
But when it comes to ready-to-drink cocktails like a canned espresso martini or a daiquiri, it is made using machinic precision. The production unit does what it’s programmed to do. As long as the machine’s operator programs it correctly, and there are no malfunctions occurring, it will add the perfect amount every time.
By removing the element of human error almost entirely, consistency is a lot higher with premade cocktail mixers.
2: Extensive Testing
A proper bartender has tested every drink they make extensively, and they do understand how the ingredients work. However, there are new drinks coming out all the time, and you can easily catch them at the wrong time; when they haven’t quite nailed the recipe perfectly.
Ready-to-drink cocktails, on the other hand, are produced in a factory setting, and a team of experts determines the recipe before programming it into the production machines.
To ensure an enjoyable experience for consumers, drink manufacturers invest considerable effort in perfecting the taste, texture, and preservation of ready-to-drink cocktails. They especially focus on ingredient quality, a harmonious balance between sweetness and acidity, and the use of natural colors and flavors.
This isn’t a simple process. Just like when a chain restaurant or ready-to-eat food company makes a new product, that team of drink development experts will spend months or years tweaking every single aspect of the recipe.
3: Quality Control Teams
It would be pretty weird for a bar to employ a quality control expert. That would be some random person going around taste-testing everyone’s drinks at random. If you’ve ever been in a bar, you know how that would go. So, the bartender makes the drink, expects it to be good, and hands it over to the customer. There’s no way to test it before it gets into the customer’s hand.
With a ready-to-drink mixed drink, a quality control expert can take samples from each batch of drinks to ensure that they’re being made properly. They can also gauge temperature, can integrity, etc. This ensures that the vast majority of drinks are perfect. Of course, the QC expert can’t taste every can. So, occasionally, a mistake will make it to the customer, but that’s extremely rare.