Get Into the Holiday Spirits

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When it comes to spirits, wine and beer, flavour attracts consumers and keeps them coming back.

’Tis the season for celebration and indulgence. 

Enhance holiday diners’ experience with innovative beverages that shake up your bar service, stir emotions and wake up taste buds. Here are just a few ways to slake diners’ thirst for something special.

Go retro. Should old acquaintance be forgot? Not when it comes to vintage cocktails. Classic cocktails such as the Sidecar, Aviation and Sazerac are being discovered by younger diners and rediscovered by older ones.

Digne des grands chefs. According to the Chicago-based research firm Technomic Inc., flavour attracts consumers and keeps them coming back in every category and segment of spirits, wine, and beer. Create housemade signature syrups and infusions of fresh fruit and herbs. Incorporate savoury, smoky and burnt flavours into beverages. Add umami with buzz-worthy meat cocktails that include bacon, sausage, beef jerky and chicken broth in their mix. Go veg-centric with beets, okra and other veggies. Tap into the popularity of beer cocktails by mixing bloody-Mary spices, hot sauce, clamato juice, soy sauce, chipotle-tomato juice, beef broth and tequila into various brews.

Un peu de chaleur. Even if the weather outside isn’t frightful, hot, boozy coffee cocktails such as Irish or Spanish Coffee and Café Brûlot bring comfort, joy and distinction to bar menus. Spike hot chocolate and cider. Use on-trend matcha for tea cocktails. For nonalcoholic holiday beverages, use flavoured syrups and whipped cream to up the  indulgence factor.

Mariages sublimes. Faites une liste des boissons à suggérer avec les assiettes partagées et les en-cas, comme vous le feriez pour les plats principaux. Et veillez à ce que votre équipe sache guider les clients.

Boissons artisanales. Distinctive craft beers, craft cocktails and housemade craft sodas offer premiumization and enhanced flavour. 

Pour on the shareables. Expand the sharing-plates experience with pitchers of colourful punch, spigot jars with fruit-infused cocktails or punch bowls of Tom and Jerry (another retro holiday favourite) for the whole table. Shareable beverages are ideal for large parties, offer value and allow for individual portion control. One example: At Rickhouse in San Francisco, a shareable punchbowl of rum, lemon juice, bitters, ginger beer and amaro CioCiaro sold for $50.

Présentation parfaite.  Sure, we eat with our eyes, but guests also love to drink in the beauty of artfully prepared beverages. Ramp up garnishes—use extra layers of fresh fruit or veggies, colourful spices, sprigs of fresh herbs and sprinkles of crushed peppermint or shaved chocolate—that add flavour while enhancing perceived value. Add special barware to the mix, too, as beautiful glasses make drinks look special. 

Break out the bubbles. Pop for more than champagne and sparkling wine. “Spritzes” of soda waters, juice, liquor and bitters replace the blander white-wine spritzers of yesteryear. Fizzy “adult” versions of soft drinks are also coming on strong, according to Technomic Inc.’s 2016 Food Trends Report. Use charging canisters to easily carbonate flavoured syrups and mixers to be added just before serving “for a delicious carbonated beverage that differentiates your operation from the competition,” advises Gordon Food Service Corporate Consulting Chef Gerry Ludwig, CEC.

Penser local. Give signature beverages a hometown feel with locally produced spirits and other ingredients. Use names with historical and/or regional significance.

Offres pour un temps limité. Get the word out that the season is the reason for your holiday beverages. Create a “get ’em before they go away” sense of urgency.

Promotions des fêtes. Run late-afternoon happy-hour and late-night “happier-hour” specials. 

Fidèle à sa marque. Holiday beverages must fit with your brand. A Carribbean-themed beverage promotion, for example, won’t make sense for an Italian restaurant.

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