Friday, January 10, 2014

Cleaning the Beverage Fountain

I posted earlier this week that we served apple martinis on New Year's Eve this year.  I served them in the beverage fountain.

This is such a neat thing to have for just such an event.  The gold button on the right is the power switch and the black button is the flow control.  It has LED lights which change color while the punch or beverage of choice cascades down.  Since it uses a recirculating pump, you will want to make sure and clean it thoroughly after each use and again just before using it again to make sure the intake is sufficiently clean.

First, I rinse all of the parts and wipe them down with a clean sponge.  The martini mix is very sugary so it makes a sticky mess.  I then place 2 quarts of the hottest tap water in the stainless steel bowl and put two tablespoons of baking soda (basking SODA, not baking POWDER.  We're not making a cake) and a splash of white vinegar, which is commonly used as a household cleaner.  Turn on the fountain and let it run until the water cools down or about 10 minutes.  Then I disassemble the tower (which assembles by simply sliding one piece on top of another and then twisting the stop on top which redirects the flow of the beverage down onto the receiving plate).  Place all of those pieces in the dishwasher and set it to normal wash/air dry.

Then turn the stainless steel bowl over and sit it on the countertop with the intake positioned over the sink so the water can completely drain from the system into the sink.  Leave it there overnight.  Then wipe the whole thing down with a clean dishtowel or terry cloth.  Once the dishwasher is done with its cycle, reassemble the tower and put it away until your next party.

A word of advice.  Many times it is suggested to serve sparkling punches or champagne in one of these, and that is a very festive thing to do.  But if you do, be prepared to keep a close eye on it.  Choose someone you can trust to monitor the fountain because as soon as the sparkling drink makes it way through the pump a few times, it starts to lose its bubbly.  So you have to add more bubbly or ladle out some and then add more. The apple martinis worked perfectly because they were not bubbly.  We served them on the rocks. You could do a fountain of Whiskey Sours, Old Fashions - anything like that.  Just make sure you have plenty of ice available nearby in a bucket along with some ice tongs.
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