Rooftop Bar Season is Here! Chicago Icon Cindy’s Offers Their Tips for Elevating Cocktails

Rooftop Bar Season is Here! Chicago Icon Cindy’s Offers Their Tips for Elevating Cocktails

Summer brings warmer weather, lots of sunshine, and opportunities to spend time outside. In concentrated cities, some of the best outdoor spaces to escape to are rooftops. More specifically, a rooftop bar!

When you need to deliver drinks with a fresh squeezed taste but want to save costs on labor, time management, and waste, Twisted Alchemy is the solution. Twisted Alchemy delivers 100% cold-pressed juices with a consistent taste that stands up to that of fresh-squeezed juice, but with a 12,000% longer shelf life!

Cindy’s, dubbed the “jewel in the crown of The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, is a rooftop restaurant and bar with one of Chicago’s best views and tastiest cocktail program. It consistently makes the list for “Best Rooftop Bars in Chicago”, and attracts locals and tourists alike for its eclectic and fresh food, beverage, and cocktail selection. Cindy’s was a hit since it first opened its doors. David Mor, the beverage manager, knew that juicing fruits on-premise was an inefficient way to run a busy rooftop bar. In order to save his bar staff time and his restaurant money, Mor opted to stock their bar and fridges with 100% cold-pressed Twisted Alchemy juices to maintain the elevated quality of their cocktail program.

We sat down with David Mor to hear why he brought Twisted Alchemy into his rooftop bar program and how it has changed their workflow. Read the full interview below.

Rooftop bars work hard to elevate dining and drinking experiences for all of their customers. Don’t be fooled into thinking squeezing juice on-premise is the only way to enhance drink quality. Here at Twisted Alchemy, we’re experts in elevating spirits so your guests can enjoy delicious cocktails with clean juice flavors all summer long. Place your order now to experiment with new summer cocktail recipes using our watermelon, pineapple, or grapefruit juices at the Twisted Alchemy website.

Twisted Alchemy (TA): How did you get into bartending?
David Mor (DM): I got into bartending by watching people I was really intrigued by and saw that there was a craftsmanship behind it, and then when they started letting me play with the liquor itself, I thought oh, this could be a career path.

TA: Can you tell me about the hassles of squeezing your own citrus and did you used to squeeze before using Twisted Alchemy?
DM: As far as squeezing citrus goes, I think for 90% of bars it’s sort of unrealistic. Especially if you have any form of high volume. So for us, we never squeezed our own citrus even to start because we immediately got busy right out of the gate. It would cause hours and hours of labor for our bar preps to focus on [juicing] when we really want them to focus on syrups, batching cocktails, and getting really everything ready for the day including garnishes

TA: Have you noticed a change in your cocktails since using Twisted Alchemy?
DM: When we started with Twisted Alchemy, we taste-tested the same cocktail but like four to five different times with different juices. So we tried it with freshly squeezed juice, the generic brand we were using, Twisted Alchemy, and more competitive brands too. Then we just blind tasted it and we also tasted the citrus on its own after a few days of being open because it’s very hard to tell what bottle has been opened for how long so we wanted to see what the shelf life was like. And every single time we enjoyed twisted alchemy cocktails more.

TA: Have sales changed in since you started using Twisted Alchemy?
DM: Cocktail sales here have been incredible and it’s really what keeps us afloat. I think being able to highlight that we use cold-pressed juices and where it comes from and that it’s local is a really fun story to talk about.

TA: Do you talk to the guests about what kind of juice you use in your cocktails?
DM: So what’s great is that we don’t batch any of our juices in our cocktails, so they actually see us use the Twisted Alchemy bottle when they make our drinks. Typically when they see that they ask what it is which normally gets the conversation going. Sometimes we don’t have time to start bragging about all the cool aspects of the cocktails and the behind the scene factors about it, but when they see the bottle and they see the label and how interesting it is, they’re going to ask about it. And I think it’s a really fun story to talk about, and it’s a point of pride, we didn’t just get the cheapest juice we could find, we found a juice that really makes the drinks taste the best and we support local, so that’s a really nice factor to bring up to guests.

TA: How have Twisted Alchemy juices changed the workflow at your rooftop bar?
DM: Twisted Alchemy juices have changed the workflow a lot of it is the size of the bottle and the comfort of it fitting in a well. Also, the actual design of the bottle. Because it’s attractive and interesting to look at we’re able to just pop int a speed pour and go to work with it and then it offers that story that we’re able to talk about it.

TA: What is your favorite juice to work with?
DM: My favorite juice is Eureka lemon. I think, obviously, lemon juice is used in a lot of classics so it’s great for us to play around with in different ways and varieties but it has a tinge of sweetness to it, a natural sweetness. So the acidity almost balances itself out in the juice. It helps us play around with the sugar content that we put in the drinks bc the juice already has that natural fruit-forwardness, we don’t always have to amp up the syrup just because that’s what the recipe calls for. It allows for a lot more balance and it’s a very versatile juice.

TA: Can you talk to me about your batching program?
DM: We do a lot of high volume here, so it’s really difficult to make cocktails from scratch every time. So the only things that we batch are the spirits with each other so it doesn’t compromise the efficiency of utilizing juice or syrup or sugar. We don’t want to batch the syrup because if any reason it goes bad over time, it would affect all the spirits. Whereas spirits will be good for a really long time. So we batch all the spirits and literally every cocktail. It just helps us put out as many drinks as possible and also helps us make a variety of cocktails for the guest which is the ultimate goal, is to have them have every possibility on the menu that really fits what they’re in the mood for. And because we batch, it allows us to do that.

TA: Have you seen any positive results in less labor, no waste, managed yields or extended shelf-life?
DM: So the benefits for us for using a bottled, cold-pressed juice vs us juicing it, a lot of it space and time. It’s great that it fits nice and tightly in our walk-in cooler so we have like a whole area dedicated to our juices. And the fact that it has a 30-day shelf-life prior to opening is really beneficial to us. Because if for any reason something happened where we had to close suddenly for a week it’s great that we can rely on that juice being there. But if we spent all that time and labor juicing our own stuff and putting it aside, the fact that it would go bad and we would have to throw it out would be disappointing. For me, I don’t like to have to justify using products that are not at their optimum, prime state. If we press our own oranges they only last about 6 hours in their prime state. Lemons and limes, you can get maybe 18 hours and its fine, but that’s one day for us. And it’s a lot of work and I’d rather our bartenders focus on really fun things that test their abilities, so garnishes and how to properly manicure things together, and have them taste and educate as they go.

Twisted Alchemy Can Elevate Your Rooftop Bar Program

Cindy’s uses Twisted Alchemy cold-pressed juice at their rooftop bar because it’s the same consistent juice every time. Plus, it eliminates labor costs and waste. They no longer have to worry about navigating fluctuations in produce prices, yields, sweetness levels (Brix) or pH levels. They have more control and predictability to run their business with better quality and variety of juices for their cocktails.

To learn more about how using cold-pressed juice from Twisted Alchemy can help you improve the quality and consistency of your craft cocktail program, and your bottom line click here to download six money saving tips!

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