What I've learned from teaching cocktail methods vs. magic

For businesses seeking to create a deeper connection with their clients, one avenue is via greater transparency into how their process or craft works.


Bartending is not just an old profession but also a very public one. They almost always work out in the open, chatting with customers as they turn out drinks. Despite this reality, when I’m working with guests and coaching them through how drinks are made, it’s clear that

something can be in plain sight and yet a complete mystery.


A recipe may have been shared or memorized but the handful of basic principles that govern how all delicious drinks come into being is rarely communicated. It’s fantastic if a person knows how to craft an Old Fashioned, whiskey sour, or margarita, but if they’re not taught principles, they don’t realize that drink can be tweaked based on taste preference or morph from one thing into another with a simple substitution. You might think of this as choosing to add pecans to pancake batter or making waffles instead. Both are minor tweaks away and we only need to understand how those tweaks can be made to be liberated from a recipe authorizing us to do so.


When I break down the core elements of drinks, people begin to see the ways that gin and silver tequila function in a similar manner. Thus one can be substituted for another. The same goes for añejo tequila and bourbon.


But if guests do not learn core principles and instead are pointed solely towards recipes, then cultivating an appreciation for the craft and bringing it into their home will remain elusive. Showing my guests “how the sausage is made” has been key in differentiating my business model from others.


Chef Samin Nosrat has taken this approach through her teachings in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. She demonstrates four universal principles to simplify cooking.


Might the same approach be right for your business? If customers better understand the amount of work required to make your software function properly or how many drafts your design team went through, would that draw them in?


Perhaps it's time for us to schedule a cocktail class and discuss how this principle might apply to you?