Trending Now: Cocktails on Draft

Bartenders are increasingly serving drinks from a keg.

draft cocktails
Illustration: Andrew Ogilvie/Shutterstock

Part of the fun of ordering cocktails at a bar is watching the mixologist mix, shake, strain and pour. Well, there may be less of that if a new trend continues. More bartenders today are premixing large quantities of their best-selling cocktails and serving them from a keg in the same kind of draft system used for beer.

The busier the person behind the bar, the greater the system’s appeal. “Now it’s possible to deliver a craft cocktail to the customer fast,” says Lee Sanchez, who consults for Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall in Atlantic City. Tennessee Avenue’s bartenders make big batches every morning of their Perfect Tenn Margarita and their Arnold Palmer variant, the AC Tea. Anything left over, they throw out at closing.

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In Cape May, Nauti Spirits serves three core cocktails on tap, usually adding one or two seasonals. “We have a [flagship] for each of our spirits—vodka, rum, gin—always on the menu, always on draft, always a favorite,” says administrative manager Katelyn Fernandi.

Apart from efficiency, the draft system allows cocktails to be made either still or fizzy, depending on the type of gas used as a propellant. All nitrogen produces a still cocktail; carbon dioxide adds bubbles, as it does in draft beer.

Cocktail kegs, like beer kegs, are portable. “We’ve done really well with them at festivals,” says Matt Marks, bar manager at Keg & Kitchen in Haddon Township. “It gives us a whole new world of options besides beer.”

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