Modern bartending branded “absurd”

Modern bartending “has a touch of absurdity about it”, according to Midori global brand ambassador Manuel Terron.

Terron was highlighting the trend among the bartending community to make their own bitters, syrups and cordials.

Speaking to the drinks business, Terron said: “Everybody in the bartending world has regressed, they have gone back to the good old days of the 1800’s.

“In some respects that is great and we are seeing a return to classic cocktail-making.

“However, back then they had next to nothing to mix with. They had no flavoured vodkas, they would have had a simple, classic gin, maybe a vermouth and they had to make their own syrups.

“Now people are starting to do that again, which I think has a touch of absurdity to it.

“We have such a plethora of flavours and products available these days that you can create any drink or flavour you want without having to tinker away and try to recreate the past.

“I respect the fact that people are now much more knowledgeable about syrups and bitters and that’s great. But the sheer amount of different bitters out there now is absurd. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

Terron went on to highlight the key challenge he faces in convincing bartenders of the merits of Midori, a bright green melon-flavoured liqueur.

“In general, bartenders do not respect your typical Midori drinker and this is a fault of the bartending community,” he said. “There has been so much misinformation about the brand and how it’s made.

“Midori still has that reputation of being a ‘disco drink’, all sweet and cheap. To a certain extent this is true and it is still our target market. But the challenge is to change this perception among bartenders and tell them this is a quality drink with good ingredients.

“Once a brand hits the top, as Midori did in the late 70’s and early 80’s, it’s amazing how quickly people in the industry will turn against it. It’s sad because Midori was designed for the cocktail industry.

“We are now trying to position Midori as a more sophisticated drink for older drinkers and emphasising how it is still relevant to them. People will remember drinking it years ago, and we want to ask them why they’ve stopped.”

6 Responses to “Modern bartending branded “absurd””

  1. Adam says:

    How did Jerry Thomas cope without flavoured vodkas?

  2. Stefanie Holt says:

    Errrr, did the Drinks Business get their headline-writer from the News Of The World or something? The point Manuel is trying to make is a valid one, and he only says it has a ‘touch’ of absurdity to it, and he isn’t talking about all Modern Bartending, just the growing time spent making/talking about loads of different types of bitters/syrups.
    He is right – there were hardly any ingredients in the old days, and products weren’t transported worldwide as much, so individuals did create their own tinctures to make their drinks more interesting.

    What IS absurd is the media constantly trying to get everyone’s attention by exaggerating and making out that people have extreme views. New headline = “modern media branded absurd”; at least that would be an accurate representation of what i am saying.

  3. Zach Morvant says:

    “We are now trying to position Midori as a more sophisticated drink for older drinkers and emphasizing how it is still relevant to them.”

    … Really? With the last round of Midori ads featuring a Beyonce doppelganger?

    I don’t pity you, Manuel. You have a tough job here. But Midori’s directors of marketing (or whatever agency they’re working with) need a class in Branding 101: stop trying to change what people think of your brand; that doesn’t work. Find out what it really is, embrace it, and push it in the creative strategy.

  4. David says:

    I think you are barking up the wrong tree. These hipsters have very little national or international effect on the current drinks in the market, regardless of what they may think. Infact, many hipsters are no longer bartenders, I called that one too. These people are only poorly imitating their predecessors who never actually stopped using these “new” and “vintage” techniques. Who cares if its got a bad reputation, if people like it, give it to them. Because it certainly isn’t about you and your cocktails and if it is, you have greatly misunderstood the profession and how to excel at it. That is the great divide, is it not? Many have spoken out against it, including former strong advocates of the craft community. I’ll name names if need be, but even the aforementioned one who is credited for starting it all wish “that bartenders would stop looking at it like a craft”, enough said, no? Good Article, a day late and a dollar short, nevertheless, great job and keep up the excellent work.

  5. Kp says:

    This comment has been moderated.

    I have personally known, trained under and worked for Manuel for over 10 of my 14 years spent in the Bar Industry, and I must say I am a little shocked that Manuel has received such negative comments/feedback and support from SOME of the “Bartending Community” around the world.
    (Those that know Manny clearly aside)

    The point Manny was making is correct, and clearly SOME individuals have read the headline and only the headline.
    He’s Right! SOME of the “old” techniques practiced by today’s bartenders do have “a Touch of absurdity to it” in certain ways.
    Although a bartender slaving away making his/her own syrups, bitters, mixers etc is in its own right amazing and creative it can also work against them.
    I don’t see the point of SOME bartenders going too far with the “custom” syrups/bitters thing, what’s the point if a bartender creates a cocktail that can ONLY be recreated in that bar and by them?
    And also as Manny said:

    “We have such a plethora of flavours and products available these days that you can create any drink or flavour you want without having to tinker away and try to recreate the past.”

    Why don’t we use them then? Isn’t it cool that as creative bartenders we have all these amazing products and flavours that allow us to make cocktails of infinite creativity? And thanks to these “worldwide” products it can allow a drink to be recreated anywhere in the world correctly and that person (both bartender and client) gets to enjoy the experience, just like the “classics” and we can do it all without slaving to make intricate one off syrups. I think it is.

    And on the Midori thing… That brand, whether you like it, Love it or Hate it has at one stage been a staple in ALL Bartenders careers, most of the first cocktails that we learnt and that “lit that fire” for cocktails and inspired us to learn about the classics, develop our palates and make a career in Bartending,
    Most probably contained Midori.

    Manuel, has given over 20 years to Bartending, he has done more for the industry than most are willing, he has given countless time (away from his family) to training and the education of bartenders all over the world.

    Have a lil more respect for an O.G of our trade!!

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