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Basics and Bar Techniques

Chris slicing up some citrus.

Warm candle flames dancing to the soft groovy Bossa Nova, illuminating a cozy modern rustic surrounding. The sound of chatters and clinking of glasses fill the air. You find yourself caught in awe, captivated by the fancy bartending techniques and tricks (or maybe you just had one too many drinks and start to find everything fascinating. Trust me I have been there). Bartenders are busy shaking up some margarita or hyping up the crowd for another round. This is a typical night scene at CAVEMEN. It sounds like all glitz and glamour, but how often does one wonder what goes behind the perfect nightlife? Truth is, there’s more than it seems.

Chris preparing the citrus peel.

A wise man 😉 once said:

A good bar means a good vibe, a good vibe means a good crowd and a good crowd means good preparation.


The key to smooth operations during the night comes down to thorough preparation, which brings us to the topic of Basics and Bar Techniques. Running of the F&B business involves understanding and realising that basics and techniques come from experience and are required to be sharpen daily. Therefore basics and techniques revolve around our daily routine.

Basics comes before techniques like cereal comes before milk, it’s the various preparation procedures required to be done before operations. Aside from procedures, it also involves other unspoken rules such as being familiar with the recipes and characteristics of being observant, and taking the initiatives to carry the team. Hence in CAVEMEN, we believe that a new member that joins the bar has to take up bar-backing for a period of time to brush up on their basics before mastering other techniques and tricks.

Chris Serving up a Negroni.

As for the techniques, there’s no right or wrong method but rather a preferred method. While it is debatable, let’s say, whether it is more suitable to use throwing or stirring when making a Negroni, truth is, just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, which technique is better lies in the tastebud of the consumer. However, the preparation method of most cocktails still revolves around the 5 basic techniques – shake, stir, throw, build and swizzle. Each method has a different degree of exposure to the air, temperature as well as dilution. Suitability of the technique also depends on the ingredients in question. Shaking is often preferred when fruits are involved while stirring is commonly used for more spirit-forward cocktails.

So next time you are sitting in a bar, sipping on your favourite Negroni and enjoying the good vibe, perhaps you could give the bartenders some credit for the good preparation – by obviously, drinking more Negroni.

Negroni by Chris, CAVEMEN.

– Chris


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