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Fresh Juices At Pegu Club, Flatiron, BED, etc


crabbjay
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Just wondering the logistics of a fresh juice program (in regards to cocktails), and specifically, how some of the best in the biz currently do it.

You see, our little bar used to use the small hand-held juicers to extract fresh juice for our cocktails. They work great, but sometimes, since many of our recipes have EXACT measurements, like 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz, 1.25 oz, etc, and also because after we had been open for about a year, business started to get busier and busier (which was a good thing), we found that squeezing juice per cocktail, using the hand-helds, was too time-consuming, and didn't always yield the exact measurement we needed.

So...we purchased a Sunkist juicer. Works great, but we noticed the taste of the juice was different. Not bad by any means, but it just wasn't as crisp and as smooth tasting as juice extracted from the small hand-held juicers, or even the larger manual juice extractors that sit atop the bar.

So...how do some of the best in the biz do it? Pegu Club, Dylan Prime, Flatiron Lounge, etc? Do they (A) squeeze the juice before each shift using either those large manual juicers that sit atop the bar, the small hand-helds, or an electric juicer? Or do they (B) squeeze the juice per order using the hand helds? Also...What type of container do they store the juice in? Plastic store n' pours, glass bottles with a speed pourer on them? Do they store them in a dedicated refrigerator until they need to use them, or in the "jockey" boxes that are on either side of the ice bin in most bar set-ups (but that usually don't stay cold enough to keep juice freshest)?

I am really curious as to the logistics involved in regards to extracting, storing, and using fresh juices in a "top-notch" cocktail program. I have been dissapointed with the taste of juice extracted from our Sunkist machine. At first I thought we were pressing down to hard on the fruit, pushing too deep into the pith, but after monitoring the bar staff, everyone uses as delicate a touch as possible when juicing. The electric juicer certainly IS fast, and it IS still technically fresh juice, but it just doesn't taste the same as juice extracted from a manual juicer, whether they be the larger bar-top models, or the small hand-helds.

Also, we have been storing/pouring the juice using those plastic store n' pours, but it is hard to pour from these containers. The pour spout is so large, that when trying to only pour a small amount, say 1/2 oz, the juice comes flying out! I am thinking that using emptied glass bottles, fitted with a speed-pourer, would be eaasier and certainly more accurate. On a side note, we use jiggers at the bar. But it is still much easier to measure into a jigger using a bottle with a speedporer attached, then it is measuring into a jigger with a store and pour container spout. As far as storing the juice is concerned, we store the juice in a frig behind the well/workstation, to keep the juice as cold as possible. Dale DeGroff once told me that storing them in the "jockey" boxes located to the left and right of most ice-bins just doesn't keep them cold enough, which makes the juice turn bad in a short amount of time.

Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!!!! CHEERS :biggrin:

Edited by crabbjay (log)
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It is great to see that the general restaurant populace is starting to embrace the concept of freshly squeezed juices - for this has always been the way for a top-notch cocktail bar and absolutely a must for a properly-made cocktail.

A few tips:

for a busy operation, prepare juice several hours to opening on a daily basis; realistically it will keep a second or even a third day if properly maintained - transferred to glass bottles after passing through a sieve by means of a funnel. Always keep in a low-boy or case refridgerator for the "jockey" barely sits in the ice in the bin and the juice has an off-taste by the end of the night.

Plastic really is the issue. A large Sunkist or Waring uses a plastic attachment and pieces in the housing. Cleaning has to be done with due diligence for citrus pulp and pith get caught in side and the liquid will dry on the apparatus. Unless, the machine is cleaned thoroughly, often it will produce volumes of juice, but with just a slightly impaired flavor. Metal juicers work best. Find smaller hand held and squeeze what you need - transfer as above and use chrome speed pourers to control the amount added. Again glass for storage. Something about how plastic absorbs flavors and color of its contents - think about how difficult the Store 'n Pour that was filled with tomato juice is to clean. Basically orangish-pink for its lifetime same as Tupperware containers once filled with tomato sauce.

Hope the suggestions help

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i would advise storing in glass as your plastic containers will eventually acquire the old citrus juice flavor and taint future batches. consider straining your juice to remove pulp or better still, doing away with the misguidingly named speed pourers altogether

"I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy." -W.C. Fields

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