As in fashion, the bar trends are cyclic. In recent years we’ve been experiencing a come back of fresh pressed juices in cocktail mixing. It’s a fantastic trend from which we only have to gain.
It’s a known fact that the ease of boxed juices have taken over the restaurant and bar industry and it makes sense from a business point of view.
Fresh fruit is not always available, fruit also doesn’t keep well for long periods of time. There’s good and bad in this scenario, the worst (and a very common sight) is the juices served by BIB (Bag in Box), just like your fountain pops, lots of places will opt for the ease and savings provided by this system. Lemonade, orange, pineapple and even tomato juices can be found in this method, served in a fountain machine or a bar gun.
The best cases involve high-quality products of some unseasonable fruits and vegetables and if you add into that fact, that the juicing industry has made some quite substantial advances in product quality, they are a great option for the consumer. These juices, on the other hand, are quite pricey for the average restaurant to carry without charging premium prices, even if they are a healthier, tastier alternative to the cheap BIBs.
At the end of the day, freshly pressed juice is always better than boxed options. And although offering it is far away from reality to most businesses, using it inside the bar has been coming back into fashion all around, including a lot of your chain brands.
The best, and easiest, way of obtaining fresh juice is to use a juice press or other and to do it on demand, meaning pressing the necessary amount every time you get an order. That will prevent excess waste, ensure you have the freshest product possible and create a nice presentation around your bar.
I’m going to go through my favorite styles of juicers and let you choose what works best for your professional or home needs.
For the home/party drinks maker having an electric juicer may be the best option. The advantages are, that you can easily make a larger amount of juice at a time and have it ready for your party or just the same make smaller portions if you only have a couple of guests.
It’s very versatile in juicing vegetables as well as fruit and most can be put in your dishwashing machine saving you the trouble of cleaning it by hand every time you use it. They can get very expensive, so choosing one that fits your budget, as well as your needs, is essential.
The stand press or extractor is the perfect juicer for a professional scenario. It gives that extra showmanship when preparing drinks and is so easy to use that even a child could press a lemon without much effort. Take into account that a professional bartender might be pressing the juice of a few hundred fruits every night, in which case the lesser effort required by the long handle will be very welcome.
It’s probably the cheapest and most common options found in bars. Quick to clean and will fit in most commercial bar dishwashers. There’s a reason why this model never went out of style, and it’s because it’s very effective. It can be quite tiring on your forearms after a few dozen drinks, even for a big guy, since the power comes from your hands instead of using your body weight. It’s also mostly limited to lemons and limes. Having said that, a smart bartender always has one or two of these as a backup, just in case.
Finally the reamer. It works quickly and it’s the easiest to clean. The clear advantage is in speed and the fact that the size of the fruit doesn’t matter. The disadvantage lies in the fact that it needs the most amount of force than all the previous ones. It also takes longer to extract the juice and you’ll need a separate strainer to get the pits before they fall into your precious cocktail.
No matter which one you choose, your cocktails will really stand out once you use fresh fruit juice instead of the boxed brands. Your guests will enjoy them better and so will you.
As always I encourage you to try them all and see what fits your needs better. Or have one (or more) of each handy and bust them out as necessary.