Location: Kansas City, Mo.
Signature Swig: The Nighthawk ($12)
“We want the beverage program to reflect that convivial vibe of not taking itself too seriously to the guest’s perception, despite everything being very meticulous and well-thought out behind the scenes,” says Scott Tipton, director of beverage at The Oliver, a 145-seat tavern-style spot.
House-bottled cocktails play a key role in that relaxed ambiance, allowing bartenders to save prep time while still serving a complex yet controlled product.
The bottled cocktails—of which are six are menued—are promoted in two varieties, carbonated and still, requiring different prep methods. The still cocktails are pre-diluted then bottled, while their fizzy counterparts are force-carbonated using a CO2 tank and small kegs before bottling. The drinks are chilled at all times, regardless of whether they’re in kegs, bottles or the larger batch, Tipton notes.
“We aren’t sacrificing quality; we’re just tweaking the tools we use to get from point A to B,” he says. “So, instead of using fresh juice, we’re adding acidity in other ways, namely citric acid or acid phosphate.”
The bottled cocktails have another benefit—consistency, since bartenders are able to squeeze a large volume of drinks out of the same batch.
While local liquor laws prohibit the sale of bottled cocktails to go, the bar has supplied them for parties of 200 through the restaurant’s catering business, Tipton says.
At The Oliver, which opened in June, frequent touch-ins with guests also help keep service moving and ensure customers rarely see the bottom of their glass unless they want to.
“You never want to see an empty drink without having at least had a conversation with the guest about their next move,” Tipton says. “Everyone is happier when they get their drinks in hand faster.”
Photo Credit: Anna Petrow