It is one of those kitchen appliances that hit the cupboard graveyard after a handful of uses, along with the so-called easy-clean toasty machine and anything made by JML.
The current bartending scene definitely has the mentality that the old times perceive quality and knowledge, and that shows in the current equipment and glassware are bought with bartenders’ hard earned tips.
Today, the length of a bartender’s barspoon, or the engraving on their mixing jug, is like the intensity of yellow on a Spanish footballers boot. They mean business.
Now we all know, and accept, that the 80’s and 90’s were a clear-cut failure for cocktails; the names, the colours, and above all the garnishes were conjured for a quick fix for intoxication, rather than a savoury sip.
The blender was a bit of a catalyst for this, and frozen drinks are still roamed for a lot today. They reminisce the times of cheap European holiday camps and Caribbean beach bars all knocking out frozen Daiquiris and Margaritas.
This sets the blender apart from todays perception of superiority, so it isn’t necessarily a sought after appliance in high-end bars.
The problem with blending in terms of quality is that temperature vastly affects flavour, and where half the volume is pure ice, flavour just becomes a bit lost.
Other problems include its habit of deafening customers during quiet coffee mornings, and the smell of the blades overheating and overwhelming the lovely scent of someone’s Manhattan.
I feel blended drinks should create a presence through combining the quality of today’s intriguing spirit market with the quality of local ingredients.
Wouldn’t you just devour a luscious New Forest Rhubarb Jam, New Forest Apple Juice, freshly picked Forest Fruits and a lashing of locally made Sloe Gin?
All these ingredients can easily be incorporated with shaking, but this way you don’t lose any goodness of the fruit, and you can increase the length a bit more for those sunny days that are due anytime soon (apparently).
Making big batches is also perfect for party times as well.
I do feel that 80’s and 90’s drinks have a definite marketing edge for odd bars in different cities, much like speakeasies, Tiki bars and now the florescent Vodka bars serving shots on a stick.
There are already a couple around, but the health conscious UK market would definitely eat up a few more bars dedicated to alcoholic smoothies, with fresh ingredients, quality spirits and a well designed menu based on current trends.
This can easily be flipped with the indulgent side as well, with luscious frappes and dairy heavy floats.
And although this wouldn’t fall under the current category for bartending superiority with ice picking and the Japanese hardshake, so long as you’re making people happy, nothing else matters.
Stay healthy, relax with drink, and give your blender the spot in the kitchen it deserves.