Bar consultants specialize in creation of high-end cocktails

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- Luxury high rise residences are not the only ventures that have emerged in the city over the past few years.

So have high end spirits according to Pete Vasconcellos, General Manager of The Penrose on the Upper East Side. "There are a lot more places serving really high quality cocktails." This is true.

Bars like The Penrose on the Upper East Side is just one of a growing number of bars shaking things by ditching customary televisions on the walls and putting the focus on well crafted drinks in the hands of their customers. "We just have full-blown, full-fledged cocktails programs in every bar we open now. It is a focus. It is something we need to do that we need to do well and people come in to expect it," said Vasconcellos during happy hour on Friday night.

Names like the Brunswick, El Campeon and Itty Bitty Pretty can be found on the growing list of cocktail menus in neighborhood haunts.

Vasconcellos add that in the last few years there has been a surge in premium specialty cocktails that have now pushed them past beer and wine sales. "There is a lot to be said about watching the drink get created and like that spotlight, but I think people just expect good drinks now too."

Mark Drew describes the shift to premium specialty cocktails as, "Rapidly changing."

Drew has been around bars for 15 years. For the last 18 months he and three other partners run Critical Mass, a consulting agency that specializes in the creation as well education of specialty drinks, "I think people know and understand chefs and they have understood food culture for a long time and people are taking that passion for foods and they are discovering that in drinks."

Drew says that was he and his partners have discovered are high-end clients like The Four Seasons Hotel on 57th, who are willing to tap their minds for what can best be described as an emerging form of liquid art.

However, there is one question that still stands out.  Are Drew and other consultants changing the way New Yorkers drink or are New Yorkers forcing the way they produce a different drink?

"I think it's a little of both. As we discover new techniques, we are applying that to the drinks world. I think New Yorkers are in general, they have this voyage of discovery, they are looking to find new flavors, they are looking to find new ingredients, they are exploring."

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