These days, you can’t walk a block through east London without stumbling upon a venue serving cocktails on draught – and now Bacardi-owned Grey Goose is making the most of the tap trend with the launch of its own draught cocktail system.
Touted as ‘the world’s first sub-zero draught cocktail tap system’, it features four key kegs encased in glass. Aesthetically, you’d be forgiven for thinking it time-travelled out of an ‘80s pop music video, but the technology within the system is cutting edge.
Grey Goose’s system differs from others on the market in a number of ways, but the biggest point of difference, according to Marc Plumridge, Bacardi’s European programming director, is the way it chills liquids.
‘If you’ve ever played with these sort of systems, you know that key kegs usually have to be chilled 24-48 hours before,’ Plumridge told Imbibe. ‘Our system doesn’t do that. The liquid can go in instantly, and the system does all the hard work’ – chilling the cocktail down to a sub-arctic -3.5°C –‘with nitrogen injected at the last point to ensure it’s as fresh as can be.’
The technology, which took nearly a year to perfect, was developed with the Espresso Martini in mind.
‘It’s one of the most complex cocktails to put in tap,’ explained Plumridge. ‘The crema is hard to replicate, and generally the alcohol will affect the drink’s ability to absorb nitrogen. So our first challenge was to achieve it from a technical standpoint.’ According to Grey Goose, the Espresso Martini created in the system manages to deliver a velvety texture without the hint of carbonation that sometimes accompanies tap cocktails.
But the system isn’t limited to the Dick Bradsell classic. Plumridge said that the system works well with sparkling Cosmos and highball-style drinks, as well. ‘One of the things I really like about the system is that you can also play with traditional carbonated cocktails.’
Grey Goose has enlisted bottled cocktail company Tails to create the prebatch liquid for its current tap offering, and plans to showcase the system at a variety of events over the coming months.
‘It opens up a whole new spectrum of occasions,’ Plumridge noted. ‘It can be delivered at the heart of cocktail culture, at influential bars, but it allows individuals to enjoy cocktails in other occasions – airline lounges, cruise ships, night life.’
He also mentioned plans to streamline the equipment to make it more suitable for a variety of on-trade venues.
‘The initial task was to create the technology and be totally transparent with it – hence the glass casing. But once the technology has been perfected it can be reduced in design and sold in an effective manner.’ Looks like the tap trend is just getting started…