What’s shakin, cocktail fans? Welcome to Episode 272 of The Modern Bar Cart Podcast! I’m your host, Eric Kozlik.
Thanks for joining me for this interview episode, where I track down the best and brightest minds in the spirits and cocktail world so that I can share their secrets with you.
This time around, we’re joined once again by Mike Vander Horn (@cocktail.complex), who isa total machine when it comes to cocktail competitions. Fresh off of yet another exciting event, he took the time to chat with me about a topic that’s been making waves in the bar world for the last couple years: Super Juice.
In this nerdy deep-dive with bartender and cocktail competitor Mike Vander Horn, some of the topics we discuss include:
- What Super Juice is and how it has risen to prominence in both cocktail bar and home bar settings.
- Different ways of formulating super juice, including recipes and methods drawn from Liquid Intelligence, a bartender named Nickle Morris, and a YouTube mixologist called Kevin Kos.
- How to test the flavor of super juice against real citrus, and why this highly-engineered product seems to attract as many skeptics and purists as it does sustainability nerds and flavor geeks.
- Where we stand in the sweeping citrus “movements” or “eras” that have influenced cocktail trends over the past several centuries.
- And the tools and ingredients you’ll need to source if you want to incorporate this versatile new citrus ingredient into your professional or home bar.
- Along the way, we tackle a question from the Discord Community about pH measurements, the best way to foil your bartender nemesis, South Jersey’s new signature cocktail, and much, much more.
This may come off as ironic in an episode about acid, but when it comes to Super Juice, my main takeaway from this conversation is that we should be looking for a “sweet spot” — some sort of ideal balance between cost, sustainability, flavor, and efficiency. I think it’s tempting to look at this tool as either a panacea to all the problems posed by citrus juice in cocktails or a looming threat to all that is good and wholesome about a fresh-squeezed lemon or lime. But like most things, Super Juice inhabits the messy middle. And that’s what we’re here to do: get messy.
Resources & Videos
We want this episode to be a definitive resource guide for bartenders of all kinds who are curious about Super Juice. Please see below for links and recipes.