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Straw in cocktails: when it makes sense to use them and when they should be avoided

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the use of a straw in cocktails: so, let’s shed some light on this and learn how to use them correctly

Straw: yes or no? In general, no. But it depends. 

Using a straw is strongly discouraged for most drinks, for a variety of reasons we will explain in detail, with all possible exceptions.

Three reasons for which use of a straw in cocktails is not recommended:

1

First of all, straws should be absolutely avoided in all fizzy drinks, because drinking with a straw means losing the effervescence. Imagine drinking Prosecco with a straw: would you ever do it? Surely not, then it would be inadvisable to use that straw for the famous Spritz as well, which instead is often supplied with the drink, without any real reason.

2

Using a straw for drinks also entails the loss of lip contact with the chilled glass rim and, above all, allowing the nose to get closer to the drink to catch its scent. A good bartender also works on these two aspects: serving the glass at the right temperature and giving the drink the best possible aroma using quality ingredients. Serving with a straw, therefore, nullifies some of the work of your trusted mixologist.

3

Perhaps you have never realised it but drinking through a straw means swallowing larger quantities of liquid much faster. As a result, you will finish your drink more quickly, without being able to fully enjoy its aroma. In some cases, this is part of the strategy of some bar managers to entice customers to have more drinks. But responsible drinking also means managing this aspect consciously and keeping control of the quantities drunk.

Two cases in which a straw in the drink is very useful:

In spite of what has been said so far, using a straw is almost compulsory in some cocktails. This is the case, for example, with all those drinks that involve crushed ice and/or pieces of fruit or herbs like crushed cocktails (caipiriƱa, caipiroska, mojito, etc.). In these cases, the straw helps drinking without swallowing the ingredients that add flavour to the cocktail and that need to remain in the glass to fulfil their purpose.

And what about the anti-stress role of the straw?  Well, yes, we underestimate it, but this aspect also holds its value. Stirring the cocktail with the straw may be a good way to relax and allow ourselves to drink calmly, while we engage in small talk and leave the troubles of our day behind us. Here, it would be advisable to use stirrers, i.e., sticks inserted into the drink for this very purpose, to achieve the same relaxing effect without those contraindications mentioned above.

Nevertheless, many people are still fond of the straw, perhaps because of its relaxing effect, even using two of them at the same time in the same drink. No matter what your preference, always remember to avoid disposable plastic straws: ask your bartender for one of the many sustainable alternatives to do something good for yourself and the environment. 

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