How to be a better bartender - UNDERSTANDING FLAVOUR



Every bartender I've ever met claims to be in search of flavours, balance & unique ingredients. The wilder the combination & the stranger the backstory of an ingredient the more he/she attempts to be a master of it or incorporate it in their cocktails or drinks program. Sometimes we venture so far beyond our understanding that we lose ourselves & forget the basics of listening to our bodies regarding whatever it is we 'thought' we were trying to create versus what we actually taste. The focus of the mind has to always be on what is it we're tasting versus what we 'want' it to taste like. Below is an excerpt from one of my favourite books 'The Flavour Bible' & I always recommend this for any new bartender starting out. Read, then read again & focus on what they author is trying to tell you.

 

FLAVOR = TASTE + MOUTHFEEL + AROMA +

“THE X FACTOR”: LEARNING TO RECOGNIZE THE LANGUAGE OF FOOD

Magical dishes, magical words: A great cook is, when all is said and done, a great poet. . . . For was it not a visit from the Muses that inspired the person who first had the idea of marrying rice and chicken, grape and thrush, potatoes and entrecôte, Parmesan and pasta, eggplant and tomato, Chambertin and cockerel, liqueur brandy and woodcock, onion and tripe?

—MARCEL E. GRANCHER, CINQUANTE ANS À TABLE (1953)

 

Our taste buds can perceive only four basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. The essence of great cooking is to bring these four tastes into balanced harmony to create deliciousness. It’s that simple—and that difficult. After all, flavor is a function not only of taste, but also of smell, touch, sight, and sound. Because we’re human beings, other nonphysical factors come into play, including our emotions, thoughts, and spirits.


Learning to recognize as well as manipulate both the obvious and subtle components of flavor will make you a much better cook. This book will be your companion in the kitchen whenever you wish to create deliciousness.

Learning to cook like a great chef is within the realm of possibility. However, it is something that is rarely taught; it must be “caught.”

Everyone who cooks—or even merely seasons their food at the table before eating—can benefit from mastering the basic principles of making food taste great. This complex subject is simplified by one thing: while the universe may contain a vast number of ingredients and a virtually infinite number of ingredient combinations, the palate can register only the four basic tastes.

Great food balances these tastes beautifully. A great cook knows how to taste, to discern what is needed, and to make adjus