Bar Blenders Buyers' Guide
One of the most vital pieces of equipment behind the bar is a quality commercial blender. Whether your bar is a destination for potent potables or more healthful libations, a blender will help you craft signature margaritas, daiquiris, smoothies, and iced coffee drinks. If you want one that will consistently give you the results you need, you should consider a number of different options to ensure it can live up to your expectations, batch after batch.
One of the first factors to consider as you choose a bar blender is the horsepower of each model's motor. If you will be serving a high volume of frozen drinks, you’ll need a machine that has the power to crush ice routinely. A blender with a motor smaller than 2 HP can produce lumpy results and potentially burn out from being overworked. Units with lower horsepower ratings will be best suited for blended concoctions that don’t require crushed ice. However, it is important to remember that the higher the horsepower, the louder the unit will be, an important consideration to make if you're choosing a blender for the front of the house.
- Plastic containers are typically the most economical way to go when choosing a blender container. Polycarbonate containers are lightweight and highly durable. They may stain or scratch over time, but are typically easy to clean. Copolyester, another rugged, scratch-resistant plastic, is a common BPA-free alternative. Another great feature of plastic containers is that you can see the contents while they blend, making it easier to judge when a drink has reached its proper consistency.
- Stainless steel containers are extremely durable, but do not keep their contents visible as they blend. They tend to be thinner than their glass counterparts, so they may have shorter service lives under repeated use, but they stand up better when they're dropped. The sleek appearance of stainless steel may also be in line with trendy bar décor.
- Glass containers, typically made of heavy, tempered glass, resist breaking and cracking and will not become cloudy or discolored from scratches. While they may be slightly heavier that the alternatives, they will also last a long time, won’t stain, and will allow you to monitor the consistency of the contents within.
Capacity and Speed Options
The standard capacity for a commercial blender container is 64 ounces, but a number of models offer different sizes. Smaller containers that are 32, 40, 44, and 48 ounces are ideal for smaller batches of frozen or blended drinks. A few models have containers that can hold from 82 ounces up to a gallon and a half, which are useful for serving up batches of mega-sized margaritas.
Most of these blenders have one, two, or three speed settings, but others have variable, programmable speeds with as many as 93 intervals. Programmable blenders let you dial in a procedure for each drink on the menu, while being able to switch between speeds is helpful when adding fruit or ice to your liquid base. Crushing ice requires higher speeds, while liquids and powders will blend better at low speeds.
Features to Consider
Bar blenders are notoriously noisy due to their high-powered motors. Most vendors offer blenders with sound enclosures to keep the noise level to a minimum for front-of-house applications.
Many commercial blenders have simple On/Off operation, while some offer a pulse function to give users precision control. Some will also have a timer, so a barkeep can take care of other tasks while the drinks whir to the desired texture.
In-counter blenders are built into your bar to protect the equipment and help give a streamlined appearance to your bar. Built-in blenders also tend to be less noisy than their standalone kin. Models with ice shavers can help create smoother drinks by breaking large chunks of ice down into manageable sizes, taking that strain off your blender. A shaver is also an ideal way to provide shaved ice that certain mixed drinks call for.