It's a bartender's worst nightmare: a troop of college-age, Jager-bombing frat boys enters an establishment known for specialty syrups and coupes and asks for a round of shots.
Snootier bars might deny them, but the bartenders at Madison, Wisconsin's Merchant know that you can catch more boozehounds with honey.
When faced with such a scenario, head bartender JR Mocanu settled on a boozy middle ground; he now regularly serves shooter-size versions of well-crafted cocktails to guests--both those who fit the above description and those who don't. "Start them off with something a bit sweet and well-balanced and then you can open up all new options," he says. Click here to see a recipe for one of his favorite shot-friendly cocktails, the In-Flight Accommodation.
He's not the only one. At the Patterson House in Nashville, Tennessee, specialty miniature coupes serve as pint-size versions of the menu's classic cocktails.
And at the new Canon bar in Seattle, bartender Jamie Boudreau uses the small format to educate his patrons: For each of his trio of rye Manhattans, he uses a different vermouth to show the effect each has on the drink.
Go small or go home.