A few weeks ago we gave you some tips on how to serve great frozen drinks. And as we told you, one of the most important parts of serving great frozen drinks is having the right blender. But how can you be sure that you’re picking the right blender? Blenders can serve many different purposes behind the bar and in the kitchen, and there is a wide selection of blenders for you to choose from. But before you get intimidated, remember that PJP is here to help. We’ve compiled a list for you of questions to ask before you purchase your new blender.
1) What are you blending?
This may seem like an obvious question, but it is still very important. What you are planning to use your blender for can vary drastically, and what kind of blender you need for various applications will be vastly different. For example, if you need to blend a very large quantity of food you may not want a typical blender, you may want an immersion blender.
Immersion blenders, also called stick blenders, are long thin stand alone blenders that do not come with their own container. Instead, stick blenders are held in your hand and placed into the container of the food that you are blending. Immersion blenders can be great tools in kitchens and can save Chefs a lot of time.
On the other hand, if cocktails are your main blender product, 500-watt and higher blenders will be the best choice. Choose a blender with multiple speeds so you can obtain the best results. A pulse option is almost necessary to sufficiently chop hard ice. Underestimating your blender’s motor to save a few bucks may leave you in the middle of cocktail hour with a burnt out machine.
2) What size batches do you need?
Helps you determine the size blender needed, especially with regard to container size. This may also seem obvious, but it’s important to have realistic expectations about the size of the blender you need. It is always best to err on the side of having too much room in your blender rather than not enough. Increasing the size of your blender may cost a little more up front, but saving your bar tenders the time by allowing them to make more cocktails in just one batch will more than make up for that cost in the long term.
Also consider the material of the container. There is a choice of plastic, glass, and stainless steel. Glass many times is the best choice because it won’t hold the smell of foods or stain like plastic can. Stainless steel looks great, but you can’t see the contents, which can be confusing in busy kitchen.
3) Does your menu feature a lot of specialty drinks? How many blended drinks do you serve in a typical evening?
It’s important to have a good understanding of the quantity and variety of specialty drinks you serve at your bar when picking a blender. The more drinks you’ll make in an hour, the more powerful blender you will need. If you have a wide variety of drinks you’ll want a blender with an easy cleaning option.
Blenders have a wide range of possible horsepower specifications, from ⅜ to 4 horsepower. In general, if you are blending dense foods, in larger quantities with a high number of batches per hour, then you need a higher horsepower blender. Having a good idea of how many drinks you serve will help you estimate drink per hour averages and what power blender is needed.
4) Who will be using the blender?
Are you planning to use the blender in the kitchen or behind the bar? If you’re behind the bar, it’s a good idea to consider a blender with an enclosure that will reduce the noise created by the blender. Blenders with a sound enclosure prevent interruption of customer conversation. And if your blender is programmable blender, the bartender will be able to choose a timer setting and step away to prepare the glass for the drink.
Consider the different control options available— single toggle switch to a full programmable keypad. Programmable keypads offer many blending options but can have a bit of a learning curve to understand how to use them. Blenders with a flip or push button pulse control are helpful, but this style can be a bit harder to keep clean.