Mixology Goes Pop

Decoding the bottled cocktail craze.

In this era of overly complex concoctions, there is something sublimely simple about cracking open a bottle that boasts a well-crafted, premade cocktail. Here are a few reasons to give them a try.

Here To Stay

Some say the bottling movement reflects a shift back to less ostentatious pours, while others claim it adds even more artifice to mixology. Regardless, one thing is certain: The trend is far from fizzling out. Bottled cocktails now hold permanent places on scores of prominent menus all over the globe, including Sotto and The Tasting Kitchen in Los Angeles, Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen in San Francisco, Anvil in Houston, and Hannah’s Bar at Epocha in Melbourne, Australia.

Locks In Freshness

“Prebottling ensures a high quality even when the bar is three deep with customers on a busy night,” says Spencer Warren, head bartender at Pittsburgh’s Acacia. But more importantly, he says, the bottle extends the shelf life of seasonal ingredients, akin to canning fresh-picked fruit.

Looks Simple, Tastes Complex

Enter Bartender/Inventor Dave Arnold’s version of the Manhattan at Booker & Dax in New York City. By measuring to the fraction of an ounce, he’s replicated what he deems the perfect dilution point of the classic cocktail—when the ice is swirled a few times. He’s literally captured a precise moment in the lifespan of the drink and bottled it. He then pops the top and serves them in liquid nitrogen-cooled glasses. Sounds simple, right?

It’s Like Soda—For Adults

The symphony of sound—the clink of the bottle opener creasing the metal cap, the hiss of escaping air, the subsequent glug-glug-glug—is definitely part of the appeal, says Jeffrey Morgenthaler, bartender at Portland, Oregon’s Clyde Common, who batches, carbonates and bottles a classic Americano with Campari, Dolin sweet vermouth, orange oil and water. “I like to sip directly from the bottle,” he says. “You maximize the amount of fizz as the drink hits your tongue and releases its bubbles. It’s playful, whimsical, drinkable and it’s just fun.” 

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