How To Make Kegged Cocktails Work For Your Taproom

G4 Kegs | May 7, 2024

Cocktails on tap are gaining in popularity in establishments around the country, capturing the attention of both patrons and beverage alcohol producers alike. Draft cocktails are exciting for customers, adding an element of novelty to the drinking experience while helping businesses streamline their operations and preserve profits by reducing operational costs. 

Looking to liven up your rotating tap offerings by serving specialty cocktails? Read on for all the details to elevate your beverage menu and join the ranks of those offering cocktails on draft.

What Are Kegged Cocktails?

Cocktails on tap are pre-mixed alcoholic drinks in a keg that run through a standard draft line. They are made in advance in large batches, stored in kegs, and poured from the tap to order in the same way a bartender would serve a draft beer.

3 Reasons Why Cocktails On Draft Are Gaining Popularity

From customer satisfaction to improved profits, there are plenty of reasons why establishments are adding kegged cocktails to their drink menus.

  • Efficiency: Making drinks to order takes time, especially if they contain lots of ingredients. Mixing a craft cocktail can hold up the line if your bar is bustling. With kegged cocktails, bartenders can quickly pour a perfectly mixed libation in seconds. There’s no need for jiggers, stirring, or shaking. Just pour and go!

  • Consistency: One of the beauties of draft cocktails is the consistency of the recipe across each pour. Since everything is batched (i.e., pre-made in large quantities), eliminates human error. Each Manhattan dispensed, for example, will always have the perfect balance of bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Producing a quality drink every time translates to customer satisfaction because they know their cocktail is consistent no matter who is behind the bar.

    Consistency can also help establishments predict beverage costs and manage inventory more accurately. With batched cocktails, you’ll know precisely the ratios for your house margarita and can order based on your recipe instead of having single bottles collecting dust on your back-bar shelves.

  • Profitability: Consistency and excellent service make for happy customers who are likely to become repeat regulars. On-tap cocktails improve bartender speed and always promise a flawless pour. Plus, kegged cocktails give owners more control over their ingredients, and mitigate overpouring and spillage.
Reasons on-tap cocktails are gaining popularity include efficiency, consistency, and profitability.

Do Kegged Cocktails Separate?

Separation is a common concern with on-tap alcoholic beverages. However, with the right equipment and proper training, there isn’t anything to worry about. 

  • Pay attention to the appropriate temperature and carbonation. While both beer and cocktails work on a draft system, they don’t require the same CO2 pressure.

    Consult a keg specialist for the correct PSI ratios.

  • Plan to dilute your cocktail as part of the overall recipe. Shaking or stirring alcohol with ice by hand adds a touch of water, which helps dilute the cocktails and enhances the flavor. You’ll want to add a little water into the mix to get the same effect with a kegged drink.

    CocktailCalc.com is a great resource that calculates the ideal dilution amounts for your recipe.

  • Give your keg a shake every shift. Depending on your cocktail on tap, some heavier ingredients, like sugar, can settle to the bottom. Shake your keg once or twice a day to maintain a consistent pour and keep your cocktail mixed.

Serving Cocktails on Tap at Your Business 

To get started on your on-tap drink menu, you must develop your signature cocktails and ensure you have all the necessary equipment. When thinking about which cocktails to keg, avoid highly perishable ingredients, such as eggs, cream, and large pieces of fruit, also, steer clear of highly-pulped fruit juices, which will clog your draft lines. 

In terms of equipment, you’ll need:

  • Stainless kegs (G4’s threaded 1/6-barrel kegs with removable spears are the perfect option for easy filling and cleaning)
  • Regulators
  • Nitrogen for still cocktails and CO2 for carbonated 
  • Air line
  • Barrier tubing
  • Draft tower

When starting on a kegged cocktail path, it’s recommended to talk to your current keg supplier and have them assist in setting up the best system for your space, drinks, and needs. 

When thinking about which cocktails to keg, avoid highly perishable ingredients and highly-pulped fruit juices.

Steps To Making Kegged Cocktails

  1. Select your desired cocktail recipe and scale it up to fit your keg size. 
  2. Mix the ingredients thoroughly, ensuring that all components are well-mixed. Be sure to sample as you go to ensure your proportions are to your desired flavor profile and beverage costs.
  3. Transfer the cocktail to your sanitized keg.
  4. Carbonate the cocktail using CO2, adjusting the pressure to get the desired level of carbonation.
  5. Refrigerate the keg until it’s time to serve guests. Give your keg enough time to completely refrigerate to ensure that it remains chilled to maintain freshness.

G4 Kegs: Your Draft Cocktail Keg Supplier

We are the nation’s largest independently-owned keg supplier, so you know all our equipment is of the highest quality. Our kegs are manufactured with SAE 304 stainless steel, a durable, food-safe material, and come in a variety of sizes. We also offer keg leasing options to help keep your beverage costs down without sacrificing quality.

Contact us today for a custom quote.