Bartenders are constantly in search of ways to offer effervescent cocktails on their bar menu without watering them down with soda.
There are two main options when you look into carbonation styles: some bartenders have opted to make bulk batches of carbonated cocktails using CO2 pressurized bottles while others have adopted products, such as the Perlini cocktail carbonation system, which carbonate one cocktail at a time in much the same method as if a bartender were shaking a regular cocktail.
The Perks of Carbonation
Carbonation creates a more rounded flavor in a cocktail that may have previously been bitter and unapproachable for the general public.
The most common of these is the classic Negroni, a cocktail with equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin, a go-to drink for bartenders and cocktail aficionados alike since its conception in 1920. The bold flavors in this drink are something most patrons are drawn to, but often turn toward the Americano cocktail instead. The Americano has a similar makeup except the gin is substituted for soda to dilute and round out the forward flavors of the sweet vermouth and Campari. With the introduction of carbonation systems to their bar programs, bartenders are able to offer patrons a classic Negroni with better texture and a subdued bitterness.
Adding carbonation to cocktails is similar to drinks that call for egg whites. It’s an ingredient that creates intrigue and distaste in equal measure. Could you imagine ordering a Negroni at a bar only to be asked if you would like it shaken with egg white? You may just order something along the lines of a gin and tonic, leaving little faith in the abilities of the bartender. On the flip side, imagine ordering a Negroni and being offered to have the cocktail carbonated. Now you’re talking.
The Negroni is used as an example because it may be the most widely known classic cocktail best elevated by this method. In saying that, the Negroni is not in this alone. Many other classic cocktails, like the Corpse Reviver #2, Boulevardier, Martinez, Last Word, Margarita, and even a simple yet elegant gin and tonic could benefit from this method.
Bars Offering These Cocktails
Booker and Dax | New York City
Known globally for their extraordinary bar program, Booker and Dax in New York City is more than a cool bar. Housed in Momofuku Milk Bar, it’s an experimental lab where founder Dave Arnold can test out his newest, most innovative creations. Sounds like a skit for a science show where the test rats are actually people, right? It’s not quite all that far from that. Mr. Arnold has a separate laboratory where he spends all of his free time playing mad scientist with products you’ll usually find at your neighborhood cocktail bar and combines them with, well, whatever he can.
Hatchback: Campari, tequila, clarified lime, and clarified grapefruit juice
Berserker: Aquavit, passion fruit and allspice dram
King’s Hardware | Seattle
King’s Hardware, located in the Ballard neighborhood, not only offers unique cocktails but also some old school games like Skee Ball and Big Buck Hunter to entice patrons. This fun and rustic cocktail bar offers two different kinds of bottled cocktails for their customers. They also offer classic pub fare like the Five Alarm Burger, which they recommend pairing with the El Diablo carbonated cocktail. The burger even has a numbering system associated, so you can choose just how hot you’d like it.
El Diablo: House infused habanero tequila, crème de cassis, lime, and ginger beer
Zombie: Four rums, four juices, brown sugar, bitters, and simple syrup
Spoonbar | Healdsburg, CA
Spoonbar offers a wide variety of carbonated cocktails. You can get cocktails carbonated on tap, with CO2, and even carbonated with the Perlini Cocktail Shaker. Below are just some options available that are enticing customers to booze it up with some extra effervescence.
Carbonated French 75: Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, lemon juice, and cava, carbonated with the CO2 method.
Carbonated Corpse Reviver #2: St. George Dry Rye Gin, Cocchi Americano, Cointreau, lemon juice, and St. George Absinthe, carbonated in a Perlini Cocktail Shaker.
Carbonated Raspberry Collins: Hanger One Raspberry Vodka, St. George Raspberry Liqueur, Pur Raspberry Eau de Vie, Yuzu, and Ylang Ylang.
Patrons and bartenders alike enjoy cocktails that have a bit of a fizz. Carbonated cocktails may pique the interest of patrons, opening their eyes to a new era of elevated and approachable classics.
Do any bars in your city offer carbonated cocktails?