The Question To Ask Before Ordering Juice Drinks At A Chain Restaurant

Chain restaurants excel at consistency. If you go into an Applebee's in Worcester, you're going to have the same kind and quality of food as the one in Santa Fe. But one thing many foodies worry about with chains is that their excellence in consistency comes at the cost of attention to detail. It makes sense. It's easier to create a consistent mid-range quality than it is a consistent high-end quality.

This quality difference can even be spotted on drink menu. The next time you're at a chain and thinking about getting a cocktail or mocktail, ask the server or bartender if they use freshly made juice and fresh simple syrup. If they say no, that means it's coming in a large bottle loaded with preservatives and artificial flavorings. If they say yes, that means the restaurant is interested in going the extra mile to deliver a quality product and experience.

If you're not familiar with a particular restaurant, it isn't always easy to tell what the quality of a drink is going to be until it's in front of you. Lucky for you, it doesn't need to be quite so mysterious. By asking if the restaurant uses fresh juice, you are hacking into what's going on behind the curtains. Fresh juice is more nutritious and delicious than the artificial kind but harder for the restaurant to provide. If they offer it, that means they care.

Why does juice matter?

Drinks are actually pretty straightforward. There are only a handful of ingredients in each of them, usually three and very rarely more than five. Because there are fewer ingredients to hide behind, the quality of a drink rises and falls with the quality of the ingredients to an insane degree.

Take a daiquiri for example. It has three ingredients — rum, simple syrup, and lime juice — and if any of those ingredients are subpar, you are going to get a subpar drink. Low-quality lime juice has a syrupy, almost chemical taste to it, and if you order a daiquiri with artificial lime juice, you are going to get a syrupy, chemical daiquiri.

The other thing to keep in mind is that cold-pressed juices last three to four days tops. So, if the restaurant isn't using fresh juice, that means they are using bottles that could be weeks or even months old. Stick with fresh made juice when you can, and if need be, find a new happy hour spot that opts for the real thing over the sugar and chemical-loaded shortcuts.