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Beverage Media
February 2013
Bubbles of course are a key component
behind some of the most popular basic
cocktails—vodka and soda, gin and tonic,
rum and cola. But these drinks can go flat
quickly, and are often one-dimensional.
The soda fountain phenomenon, coupled
with the availability of at-home carbon-
ation systems like SodaStream, and the
rise of molecular mixology has created the
perfect fizz-induced storm.
Why carbonate traditionally-still
cocktails like the Negroni in the first
place? Jesse Ratliff, bar manager at Table
in Asheville, NC, explains: “The first part
is the sheer novelty of having a familiar
drink served in a unique way. Drinking
straight from the bottle brings back mem-
ories of childhood as well. You can’t beat
nostalgia. The second part is the actual
flavor of the cocktail can change as it sits
for a few days and the oils, water and spir-
its come together.”
As bartenders look for more ways to
bring the most of out of their ingredients,
different techniques like carbonation be-
come important tools. Expect to see more
carbonated cocktails—on tap, pre-bottled
and made to order.
Bottles Up
At the forefront of the bottled trend (as
well as barrel-aging cocktails) was Clyde
Common bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler.
Fresh from a 2011 trip to Aviary in Chi-
cago, he was inspired to create what he
called “bottled sparkling café cocktails,” a
nod to low-alcohol, bitter drinks tradition-
ally served at European cafés. His recipes
include the Bottled Sparkling Americano
(Campari, Dolin sweet vermouth, water,
orange oil) and Bottled Broken Bike (Cy-
nar, white wine, water, lemon oil).
Morganthaler explains why pre-bot-
tled cocktails work from a service stand-
point: “They are, essentially, spirit-driven,
so there is no need to worry about spoilage.
The entire drink is carbonated, providing
a more complete experience than simply
adding a sparkling finish, as one would
do when building these drinks
à la minute
.
And the whole bottle is pre-chilled, elimi-
nating the need for ice and maintaining
perfect dilution from beginning to end.”
Garces Trading Company in Phila-
delphia sells carbonated cocktails by the
bottle for consumption on-premise. Gen-
eral Manager Seth Lieberman says, “Our
guests love these drinks. They’re unusual
and playful, so they appeal to all types of
people.” His team blends the cocktails
first, bottles them individually, uses an in-
house carbonation system to force in the
bubbles, and then seals them to maintain
the fizz. Bottled bubbly cocktails at Garces
Trading Company include an Americano,
the Pepino Fresco (Cuervo Gold, St-Ger-
t started in 2008 with Jim Romdall at Vessel in Seattle and has became a
bona fide trend, well publicized last summer as it spread to San Francisco,
New York and North Carolina. Carbonated cocktails, by the glass and by the
bottle, have added a new dimension to drinking.
BY BRANDY RAND
Carbonation
nation
Bubble-Powered Cocktails Sparkle
From Coast to Coast
Photographs courtesy of Jason Varney
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