Crafted Cocktail Menus: That’s the Spirit
If you offer a full bar, that’s because you’ve realized the benefit of a complete cocktail menu. While there is nothing wrong with beer and wine only, getting into the full-dining and happy hour spirit can raise not only spirits, but sales.
Let’s go beyond the Cosmopolitan and take a glimpse at some cocktails that are either currently trending or never out of style (either way they should do well for you this summer into the fall). Note, also: quality matters. Consumers are gravitating for premium spirits. Keep the bottom shelf liquor where it belongs — in the dark. Go high end and price to match.
Old Fashioned — Sometimes, what’s old is new again. Bourbon is red hot. That trend began well before the pandemic, but the Great Quarantine seemed to only heighten our nation’s love for the only native American spirit. Much like sourdough bread baking at home, people really got into bourbon with all the down time. It’s an enthusiasts’ spirit if ever there were one. And the Old Fashioned is the grandaddy of all bourbon drinks. If you’re operating a full bar, not having a great Old Fashioned is just plain silly. And even though it’s been around for more than 200 years, the Old Fashioned is as trendy as ever.
Granddaddy (Old Fashioned)
Cucumber Mint — In the dog days of summer, one of the most refreshing drinks you can muster features cucumber and mint. It’s just so fresh and clean. Vodka is the best choice for this one. I prefer the addition of lime as well. Call it “going green.” You can make your own cucumber-mint simple syrup in a matter of minutes if you don’t want to buy it. Place a pan over medium heat and combine 8 ounces of water with ½ cup of sugar and 1 cup of chopped mint leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool another 5 minutes. It’s going to smell amazing! Strain and then store in the fridge (for up to about 3 weeks, but you should move through this drink quickly if you market it in the summer).
Going Green (Cucumber Mint Cocktail)
Peach Bellini — We all have a friend named or nicknamed Rocky. Mine makes the best Peach Bellini, so I’m hijacking his recipe here. The Bellini hails from Venice, the Italian city I visited on my 20th wedding anniversary and that I still dream about. There is literally no place in the world like Venice. Since peach is a classic summer flavor here in the states (I mean, even Chick-Fil-A does a summer peach milkshake), let’s give this old favorite its due.
JEREMY WHITE is Editor-in-Chief at Pizza Today.