The 5 Element of a Perfect Serve

There are five elements to the perfect serve, but first, what is it? The perfect serve is not a complex matter, it is the idea that there is a proper and perfect way to serve each and every drink. With a little extra care and diligence a bartender can ensure that each drink they pour is the best representation of that drink they’re able to produce. This is not a difficult undertaking that requires new machines, bar tools, service policies, or changing the way your bar functions. The tools are right there in front of you! It is all about entrenching the perfect serve mentality into your bartenders, their service, and their technique.

The 5 Elements

Quality is of the utmost importance when it comes to the perfect serve and it is integral to every point mentioned here on out.


The right drink in the wrong glass can ruin a customer’s experience. Glassware is designed with certain drinks in mind to enhance the appearance, flavors and aromas of certain drinks, as well as to help the customer in drinking them. If drinks are served in glassware unintended and unfit for that specific concoction it can ruin the drink, the customer’s perception of that drink and the customer’s experience. Make sure you’re choosing the right glass for each drink you pour behind your bar.


Ice is not often chosen at the discretion of the bartender, however if they had a choice bartenders would choose large, clear cubes, made with filtered water. Not only does the quality of the ice matter but also how it is used. Using too little ice to stir or shake a cocktail can result in an over-diluted, unsatisfying drink. When building drinks in the glass the ice is the first ingredient in the glass and should reach over the rim of the glass. It will melt as liquids are poured over it, and starting with a cup brimming with ice means that the cubes will not melt as much during the construction process. Cubes will last longer in the drink, not watering it down as quickly along with ensuring that the drink remains cold for as long as it is in existence.


We often have little influence over the spirits our patrons choose, however we can sometimes steer them in the direction of higher quality spirits. Yet we do control the quality of the mixers, Vermouth or juice we use behind our bars; and when these often make up about half of many drinks their quality is paramount to the perfect serve. Choosing high quality mixers for service behind you bar means that you ingredients are the best you can provide for your customers.


The perfect pour is part of the perfect serve. Balancing drinks is crucial to their success and measuring the ingredients out properly is paramount to a drinks final success and perfection; meeting the expected criteria and flavor profile of that drink.

Not only this but when a drink is complete in the glass there should be a gap between the top of the drink and the lip of the glass. This small amount of space allows the bartender and the guest to pick up the drink and move it without spilling.


The final piece of the drink is often the first a customer will see. Therefore, garnishes need to be of the highest quality in order to ensure that they do justice to everything the bartender has created beforehand and all the diligence put into the glass. Garnishes should be checked before every shift and before being placed on every drink. If they don’t fit your high standard they should be discarded or put aside and replaced with another, perfect one. Garnishes are not just there for appearance and many add another dimension to a drink with regard to their scent. Garnishes should be placed next to the straw, if present, so the customer smells them as they drink their beverage.

These are the five elements of the perfect serve. As aforementioned all the tools are there for you it is just instilling the tactics of the perfect serve in your bartenders to ensure that all the drink pushed across your bar-top meet the standards of the perfect serve.

The perfect serve, however, is not just about the drinks; because people don’t just come to a bar or restaurant for the drinks. The high level of drinks mentioned above should be matched with an equally high level of service. After all, it’s not called the “service industry” for nothing!


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Benjamin Michael Beddow

Food and Beverage Professional

As a food and beverage professional for over ten years, Ben has spent most of his time behind the bar, giving him a broad and in-depth knowledge of all things drinkable and drink related. Now, as a traveling freelance writer exploring the gastronomy, drinks, and food service industry of the world, Ben has taken his knowledge and experiences to the world wide web to share with others. The love for the trade never dies and Ben can still be found running around restaurants and slinging drinks in ski resorts in the USA during the winter season.

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