If you love cocktails and want to enjoy them in a convenient, cost-efficient, and quality way, you might be interested in cocktail kegs. Cocktail kegs are a trendy drink option that allows you to serve pre-mixed cocktails on tap, just like beer or wine. Whether you want to make your own cocktail kegs at home, buy or rent them from a supplier, or order them at a bar or restaurant, this article will tell you everything you need to know about this innovative and fun way of drinking cocktails.
What are Cocktail Kegs?
Cocktail kegs are metal barrels that contain pre-mixed cocktails that can be dispensed through a tap. They work similarly to beer or wine kegs, except they use a different gas system to carbonate and preserve the cocktails. Depending on the size and type of the keg, it can hold anywhere from 5 to 50 liters of cocktail, which can serve dozens to hundreds of drinks.
Cocktail kegs are not a new invention, but they have become more popular in recent years due to the rise of craft cocktails and the demand for convenience and efficiency in the hospitality industry. Many bars and restaurants have started to offer cocktail kegs as a way to save time, money, and space, as well as to provide consistent and high-quality drinks to their customers. Some examples of cocktail kegs that you might find on tap are Negronis, Margaritas, Moscow Mules, Old Fashioneds, Sangrias, and Spritzes.
The Benefits of Cocktail Kegs
There are many advantages to using cocktail kegs, both for consumers and for businesses. Here are some of the main benefits of cocktail kegs:
One of the biggest perks of cocktail kegs is that they are very convenient. You don’t have to worry about measuring, mixing, shaking, stirring, or garnishing your cocktails. You just have to pull the tap and pour your drink into a glass. This saves you a lot of time and hassle, especially if you are hosting a large party or event. You can also easily transport and store cocktail kegs, as they are compact and durable.
Another benefit of cocktail kegs is that they are cost-efficient. By buying or making cocktails in bulk, you can save money on ingredients, labor, and waste. You can also control the portion size and the price of your drinks more easily. According to some estimates1, cocktail kegs can reduce the cost per drink by up to 50% compared to traditional methods.
Quality and Freshness
A third benefit of cocktail kegs is that they maintain the quality and freshness of your cocktails. By using a special gas system that combines carbon dioxide and nitrogen2, cocktail kegs can keep your drinks carbonated, chilled, and stable for weeks or even months. You don’t have to worry about oxidation, spoilage, or separation of ingredients. You can also enjoy consistent and balanced flavors every time you pour a drink from a cocktail keg.
The Challenges of Cocktail Kegs
Despite the many benefits of cocktail kegs, there are also some challenges and limitations that you should be aware of before you decide to use them. Here are some of the main challenges of cocktail kegs:
One of the challenges of cocktail kegs is that they require some technical knowledge and skills to set up and operate. You need to have the right equipment, such as a kegerator3, a gas tank, a regulator, a coupler, a faucet, and tubing. You also need to know how to connect, adjust, clean, and troubleshoot these components. If you don’t have the proper equipment or expertise, you might encounter problems such as leaks, blockages, flat or foamy drinks, or off flavors.
Another challenge of cocktail kegs is that they limit your selection of cocktails. Not all cocktails are suitable for kegging, as some ingredients might not mix well, carbonate properly, or last long in a keg. For example, cocktails that contain fresh juices, dairy products, eggs, or herbs are not recommended for kegging. You also can’t customize your cocktails to your personal preference or mood, as you have to stick to the pre-mixed recipe in the keg.
A third challenge of cocktail kegs is that they might be subject to legal restrictions in some areas. Depending on where you live or operate, you might need a license, a permit, or a tax stamp to buy, sell, or serve cocktail kegs. You also have to follow the rules and regulations regarding the labeling, transportation, storage, and disposal of cocktail kegs. You should check with your local authorities before you use cocktail kegs to avoid any legal issues or penalties.
How to Make Your Own Cocktail Kegs
If you want to make your own cocktail kegs at home, you need to follow some steps and guidelines to ensure a successful and safe result. Here are the basic steps of making your own cocktail kegs:
Choose Your Cocktail Recipe
The first step of making your own cocktail kegs is to choose your cocktail recipe. You should pick a recipe that is simple, stable, and scalable. As mentioned earlier, you should avoid recipes that contain fresh juices, dairy products, eggs, or herbs. You should also avoid recipes that require shaking or stirring, as these techniques are not necessary for kegged cocktails. Some examples of good recipes for cocktail kegs are Negronis, Margaritas, Moscow Mules, Old Fashioneds, Sangrias, and Spritzes.
You should also decide how much cocktail you want to make and adjust your recipe accordingly. You can use online calculators to help you convert your measurements and ratios. You should also consider the alcohol content and the serving size of your cocktail, as these factors will affect the taste and the effect of your drink.
Gather Your Equipment and Ingredients
The second step of making your own cocktail kegs is to gather your equipment and ingredients. You need to have the following equipment:
- A keg: You can use any size or type of keg that fits your needs and budget. You can buy new or used kegs from online retailers or local suppliers. You can also rent kegs from party or event companies. Make sure that your keg is clean and sanitized before you use it.
- A gas tank: You need a gas tank that contains a blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. This gas mixture is also known as beer gas or Guinness gas. You can buy or refill gas tanks from online retailers or local suppliers.
- A regulator: You need a regulator that connects your gas tank to your keg and controls the pressure and flow of the gas. You can buy regulators from online retailers or local suppliers.
- A coupler: You need a coupler that connects your keg to your faucet and allows the liquid to flow out of the keg. You can buy couplers from online retailers or local suppliers. Make sure that you use the right type of coupler for your keg, as there are different types of couplers for different types of kegs.
- A faucet: You need a faucet that attaches to your coupler and dispenses your cocktail into a glass. You can buy faucets from online retailers or local suppliers.
- Tubing: You need tubing that connects your gas tank, your regulator, your coupler, and your faucet. You can buy tubing from online retailers or local suppliers.
You also need to have the following ingredients:
- Alcohol: You need alcohol for your cocktail recipe. You can use any type of alcohol that suits your taste and budget. You can buy alcohol from online retailers or local liquor stores.
- Mixers: You need mixers for your cocktail recipe. You can use any type of mixers that suit your taste and budget. You can buy mixers from online retailers or local grocery stores.
- Water: You need water for your cocktail recipe. You can use tap water, filtered water, or bottled water. You should use cold water for better carbonation and taste.
- Sugar: You might need sugar for your cocktail recipe if it contains sour ingredients such as citrus juices or syrups. You can use granulated sugar, powdered sugar, or simple syrup. You can buy sugar from online retailers or local grocery stores.
Mix, Carbonate, and Chill Your Cocktail
The third step of making your own cocktail kegs is to mix, carbonate, and chill your cocktail. You need to follow these steps:
- Mix your cocktail ingredients in a large container, such as a bucket or a pitcher. Stir well until everything is well combined.
- Transfer your cocktail mixture into your keg using a funnel. Leave some space at the top of the keg for the gas.
- Seal your keg and attach your coupler to the keg valve. Make sure that the coupler is locked and secured.
- Attach your gas tank to your regulator and set the pressure to about 30 psi. Attach your regulator to your coupler using tubing.
- Turn on the gas and shake your keg vigorously for about 10 minutes. This will force the gas into the liquid and carbonate your cocktail.
- Turn off the gas and detach your gas tank from your regulator. Attach your faucet to your coupler using tubing.
- Place your keg in a refrigerator or a cooler with ice. Let it chill for at least 24 hours before serving.
Where to Buy or Rent Cocktail Kegs
If you don’t want to make your own cocktail kegs at home, you can also buy or rent them from various sources. Here are some of the options that you have:
Online Retailers and Delivery Services
One of the easiest ways to get cocktail kegs is to order them online from retailers or delivery services that specialize in cocktail kegs. You can browse through their selection of cocktails, choose the size and type of keg that you want, and have it delivered to your door. Some examples of online retailers and delivery services that offer cocktail kegs are:
- [Kegged Cocktails]: This company offers a variety of cocktails on tap, such as Negronis, Margaritas, Moscow Mules, Old Fashioneds, Sangrias, and Spritzes. You can order 5-liter or 20-liter kegs that come with everything you need to serve them, including a tap, a gas tank, a regulator, and tubing. You can also rent or buy kegerators from them if you want to keep your cocktail kegs cold and fresh for longer periods of time.
- [Cocktail Courier]: This company offers a subscription service that delivers cocktail kits to your door every month. You can choose from different themes and flavors, such as Classic, Seasonal, or Crafty. Each kit contains enough ingredients to make 12 cocktails, along with recipe cards and garnishes. You can also order cocktail kegs from them if you want to serve larger batches of cocktails on tap. They offer 5-liter or 20-liter kegs that come with a tap, a gas tank, a regulator, and tubing.
- [KegWorks]: This company offers a wide range of products and services related to beer, wine, and cocktails. You can buy or rent equipment and accessories for making and serving cocktail kegs, such as kegerators, gas tanks, regulators, couplers, faucets, tubing, and cleaning kits. You can also buy pre-mixed cocktail concentrates that you can dilute with water and carbonate in your own keg.
Local Bars and Liquor Stores
Another way to get cocktail kegs is to buy or rent them from local bars or liquor stores that offer them. You can check with your favorite bars or liquor stores in your area and see if they have cocktail kegs available for sale or rental. You might be able to find some exclusive or limited-edition cocktails that are not available online or elsewhere. You might also be able to negotiate a better price or a discount if you are a regular customer or a loyal fan.
Party and Event Companies
A third way to get cocktail kegs is to hire party or event companies that provide them as part of their services. If you are planning a large party or event, such as a wedding, a birthday, or a corporate function, you might want to consider hiring a professional company that can take care of everything for you, including the drinks. You can choose from their menu of cocktails on tap, or request a custom-made cocktail for your occasion. They will deliver the cocktail kegs to your venue, set up the equipment, serve the drinks, and clean up afterwards.
Cocktail kegs are a trendy drink option that allows you to enjoy pre-mixed cocktails on tap. They are convenient, cost-efficient, and quality-oriented. However, they also have some challenges and limitations that you should be aware of before you use them.
You can make your own cocktail kegs at home by following some simple steps and guidelines. You can also buy or rent cocktail kegs from various sources online or offline.
Cocktail kegs are a fun and innovative way of drinking cocktails. Whether you want to impress your guests, save some money, or try something new, cocktail kegs might be the perfect choice for you.
- Q: How long do cocktail kegs last?
- A: Cocktail kegs can last for weeks or even months if they are stored properly. You should keep them refrigerated or chilled with ice, and use a gas system that prevents oxidation and spoilage. You should also check the expiration date of the ingredients that you use in your cocktail kegs, and consume them before they go bad.
- Q: How many drinks can I get from a cocktail keg?
- A: The number of drinks that you can get from a cocktail keg depends on the size and type of the keg, as well as the serving size and alcohol content of your cocktail. As a general rule of thumb, you can get about 20 drinks from a 5-liter keg, and about 80 drinks from a 20-liter keg.
- Q: Can I mix different cocktails in one keg?
- A: No, you should not mix different cocktails in one keg. This will ruin the flavor and balance of your cocktails, as well as cause potential problems with carbonation and preservation. You should only use one cocktail recipe per keg, and label your keg accordingly.
- Q: Can I reuse or refill my cocktail keg?
- A: Yes, you can reuse or refill your cocktail keg if it is clean and sanitized. You should rinse your keg with hot water and soap after each use, and let it dry completely before filling it again. You should also replace any parts that are worn out or damaged, such as seals, valves, or tubing.
- Q: Can I make non-alcoholic cocktails in a keg?
- A: Yes, you can make non-alcoholic cocktails in a keg if you want to. However, you should be careful with the carbonation and preservation of your non-alcoholic cocktails, as they might not have the same stability and shelf life as alcoholic cocktails. You should also label your keg clearly to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.