If you scan across the back of any bar in the world you can get a pretty quick picture of the kind of cocktail you are about to receive. Do you see the standard national brands prominently displayed front and center? Likely. Perhaps you notice some harder to find bourbon or rum. That can be promising. What about a dozen or more flavored vodkas? Thats usually a bad sign if you want a well made drink. Regardless of what you see, you should always for what you want. A good bartender will let you know if they can make it and if not, should suggest something in the neighborhood. But lets say you end up in one of the many bars popping up nowadays where a few guys with some money said "Dude! lets open a craft cocktail bar" but none of them had any talent or experience. In places such as these you will likely find some top shelf rum and spirits but be challenged to find anyone behind the counter who can do anything with them. You will have two options. You can ask for your spirit neat or on the rocks and keep things simple. Or, you can throw a very simple recipe at the barkeep and keep an eye on him while he fools around back there. You may just teach him or her a thing or two. On this episode of the podcast we explore this predicament along with listening to some very chill exotica.
To answer some of our listener mail, here are a few suggestions for bar lighting that is easy and fits just about any budget.
1. Philips Hue is on the high end of price but is also the most advanced. If you want to control your lighting from an app with literally over 100 apps already created by users just for customizing your lighting scheme, this is the lighting for you. The starter kit is around $149 for three lights and the hub which will control all the lights you want to add.
2. IKEA has a line of led bar lighting called Dioder that works under the counter in your kitchen, behind a TV and anywhere in your bar. These are about $40 a set and you can add on as you go. These offer many bright colors as seen in the picture from our own Zen Tiki Lounge bar. We have been using these for a decade and they still work great and use very little power.
3. The least expensive route is to buy a 20, 30 or 40 foot lenght of led lighting. These are just about always from China (so read reviews of quality before you buy) and some work really well. At $20 to $50 depending on what you buy, you will find many color changing options and you can usually cut these ropes if there is too much. But, you cannot reconnect two pieces, once you cut it....thats how long it will be and you toss the rest. One nice thing is these are flexible and some are even waterproof. Easily found on Amazon.