Blender Technology On-premise

By John S. Pomeroy, Jr.

With cocktail culture reinventing itself daily, there are dozens of schools of thought regarding what constitutes a quality drink.

For simplicity’s sake (and the sake of this article,) two of those schools will be addressed: purist and pragmatist; with particular focus on how they each address bar tools, and specifically the whirring wonder of today’s blenders and mixers.Ask any bartender worth his or her margarita salt how they feel about making blended drinks, and they’ll likely say something to the effect of “my blender is ‘broken’.” For those unfamiliar (or at least inexperienced) with life behind the stick, that euphemism loosely translates into “they are the bane of my existence.” As we all know, once that blender’s whir is heard, there is typically a large influx of blended drink orders. Without a good commercial blender designed to pump drinks out quickly, the difficulty in efficiently producing blended cocktails increases substantially.

Electric blenders and mixers weren’t even available for every day commercial use until well after their invention in 1922. While Stephen Poplawski is credited with the invention (he was the first person to put a spinning blade at the bottom of a container,) it wasn’t until 1935 (two years after Repeal Day) that Fred Osius reinvented the concept, and the now-famous Waring blender was born.

Bar Business spoke with Waring ( about their commercial blender line, and being the oldest continually operating blender company, it came as no surprise that they had some really helpful and surprisingly simple information about how to pick the right blender for your business. Daniel Debari, a representative of ConAir, Waring’s current umbrella company, simplified their immense product line: their most popular, the BB150 (½ HP) for 25 or fewer drinks per day, the BB180 (¾ HP) for 25-50 drinks per day, the MMB142 “Margarita Madness” (1½ HP) for 50-75, and their most powerful, the MX Xtreme Series (3 ½ Peak HP) for 75+ drinks a day. (If your bar is making more than 75 blender drinks per day, you may be wondering why your bartender turnover is so high and may want to consider getting a drink machine, which we’ll address later on in this article.)

Though Waring is credited with the modern blender, there are obviously many other companies that are making a very good product. Vita-Mix ( is a commercial blender manufacturer geared toward the higher end of the per-day-drink count. They offer blenders geared toward the quantity of drinks to be produced. Their Barboss Advance, Drink Machine Advance, and PBS Advance (Portion Blending System) are their recommendations, and variable programming options bring technology into the mix (no pun intended,) making the production of consistently blended frozen drinks as simple as a push of a button. As you can see from the pictures, the Barboss and Drink Machine are traditional-looking models, while the PBS is clearly designed for mass-production, and is marketed as being able to make up to four drinks at once.

Some may be interested in stirring up more than that, and if mass production is your objective, and the PBS is under your desired production level, you probably already know about Island Oasis ( essentially a product line that circulates frozen beverages in a Slurpee-like fashion, providing a consistent product to the customer as simply as pouring a draft beer. Odds are, if you’ve ever gone to a beachfront tiki bar anywhere in the world and ordered a blended cocktail, you were served an Island Oasis product. Globally, their products are found in all 50 states, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica, the UK, Greece, China, and Singapore. Every year, over a quarter of a billion Island Oasis frozen beverages are consumed worldwide.

Clearly, Island Oasis products are geared toward mass production. As with any product, the quality vs. quantity debate can come into play. While Island Oasis’ consistency and mass production are guaranteed, it does involve a drink mix, and sometimes mixes simply can’t provide the same quality as fresh ingredients. Only you know what your bar needs, and there is a balance; where within the spectrum your frozen beverage program falls is completely up to you and the needs of your business.

Breville ( offers a solid, commercially capable blender in their LCD one-touch BBL600XL. It is a very reliable machine, capable of crushing even the most solid Kold Draft cubes easily and efficiently. The well-lit LCD control panel is very easy to see, even in the darkest of speakeasies, with buttons for “snow,” “mix,” “blend,” “liquefy,” “puree,” and “smoothie,” all illuminated clearly. Unlike many blenders I’ve used, each button really produces a uniquely blended product. Depending on the ingredients and the emulsification properties, it is important to have the right speed for each, and Breville clearly recognizes that.

One company offers a unique perspective on questions that should be asked before buying a blender. Alan Clemons, of Hamilton-Beach (, another industry leader in commercial blenders, recommended bar owners ask themselves the following questions when considering a blender purchase: 1) What are you going to use the blender for? 2) How much volume do you expect? (Number of drinks per day.) 3) Do you have a limit that you can spend? 4) Do you prefer solid drive or rubber clutches? And 5) Do you need a sound enclosure? As a bar owner/manager/employee, those questions pretty much cover it. Hamilton Beach addresses each by recommending a blender that is cost-effective (although not as efficient,) the 908, and also a more powerful (and by default more expensive) model, the HBH650. While the latter can whip up a drink in about a tenth of the time as the former, it costs hundreds of dollars more. It goes back to Waring’s breakdown—how many drinks are you planning on making?

I mentioned earlier the quality vs. quantity debate, which presents an opportunity to return to the two schools of thought we’re examining, and to transition into theoretical a discussion about mixers. While the purist would argue that drinks should be individually crafted from the freshest ingredients available in the simplest matter possible, the pragmatist is more (but by no means always) likely to look at the business aspect of things and lean towards practicality. Similarly, the purist would presumably be opposed to an electric mixer, preferring the time-honored, spring-loaded, Boston-shaker- double-shake to any burr mixer.  Where the line is blurred is within the evolution of molecular bartending.

The human body (no matter how skilled or well-practiced you are with that shaker!) is incapable of generating the rpm’s necessary to change the physical structure of the ingredients in your cutting-edge cocktail. The hand mixer has typically been frowned upon by the bartender purist, as traditionally, any of the ingredients that needed it could have been frothed effectively with the double-shake method. With the introduction of molecular bartending, however, an electric mixer has never been more important.

Working with products like alginate and soy lecithin requires the type of agitation that is only available through the use of electric tools. While some who fall into the purist category will likely frown upon anything needing such specialized tools, others see the innovation as a way to reinvigorate the classics; to seize the opportunity to package them in a different way and thus open up the dialogue necessary to interest and educate the consumer.

While choosing the right blender has a very logical approach, choosing the right mixer is much more complicated, as the variables increase ten-fold when talking about mixers. While number of drinks produced and speed of production are still necessary issues to address when considering what mixer to buy, depending on your applications, dozens more questions need to be addressed. Like blenders, volume is an important consideration. As someone interested in the bar business, you know how the smallest details can make or break your bank. Choosing the right blenders and/or mixers for your business is one such consideration that shouldn’t be made lightly.

John S. Pomeroy, Jr., is a bartender, cocktail consultant, and molecular mixologist.