Trendy Cocktails can be the bane of both bartenders and owners.
For the former, trendy cocktails (i.e.complex drink orders) in the middle of a rush slows down the pace considerably, causing a queue of agitated customers who just want a beer in a glass.
For the owners, trendy cocktails can be a headache for inventory management. Four or five ingredients—often specialty liqueurs or garnishes, stocked specifically for this one use—are served out in tiny portions and can easily get lost in the shuffle. How much grenadine is left? How long has the mint been sitting there? These are questions that nobody wants to answer when it’s already too late.
But don’t give up on the idea of creative cocktails just yet. Nothing on a menu has quite the revenue potential of a signature drink, and with tighter controls on inventory you can really stretch out the investment in the specialty ingredients involved.
Setting the drinks up as recipes in your POS eliminates any time a bartender might have to look for the right ingredients. And adhering to strict measurements on each ingredient not only produces a more consistent product, it also contributes to more predictable inventory management.
You might have bought a bottle of peach liqueur 6 months ago for that one drink that calls for it, but you’ll never be taken by surprise when it’s nearly empty. Any herbs or fruits you purchase for use as garnishes, on the other hand, have a very limited shelf life. By tracking waste in the present, you can make smarter purchasing decisions in the future.
And when you’ve got your cocktail operation running smoothly and efficiently, with predictable costs and margins, you’ll see firsthand just how profitable your bar or restaurant can be. Freed from the stress of managing it all, you can start to get really creative with your drink menu. Here are a few ideas for inspiration.
1. El Presidente
This president makes the best drinks. His drinks are so terrific, you’ve never seen anything like them. And don’t worry about the cost. The president will make Mexico pay for it! A mix of rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine, it’s the perfect solution if you want something more refreshing than a rum and coke, but more fun than a glass of juice.
2. Copa Verde
Its like a Margarita, with its tequila, lime juice, agave syrup, and salted glass rims. But then you add some ice and an avocado, blend it all up, and trust me: it’s way tastier than it sounds.
The name sounds like a well protected fortress in the Da Vinci Code series. And maybe it is, I never read any of them. But it’s also a super tasty cocktail, with 6 parts citron vodka, 2 parts peach liqueur, and 1 part apple liqueur. Add some lime juice and simple syrup, garnish with a strawberry and basil leaves, and then don’t try to read the Da Vinci Code.
4. Cherry & Coke
Cherry Cokes are alright, but a Cherry & Coke is something entirely more satisfying. Fill a glass with ice, add a shot of Grand Marnier Cherry, and top it all off with Coca Cola. Pair it with a diner-style cheeseburger, and we’re talking true happiness here.
5. The Gold Rush
Evocative of the well known Whisky Sour, The Gold Rush has one ingredient that requires a little advance preparation. The honey syrup in the drink is equal parts honey and hot water, mixed until it’s nice and smooth. Add in some bourbon and lemon juice, shake it all up with ice, and you’ve struck liquid gold.
6. Baileys Cinnamon Spice
Irish coffee and White Russians are fun, but maybe a little labor intensive. You’ve got to brew the coffee, after all. Instead, start with some Bailey’s Irish Cream, which sort of tastes like coffee and definitely has alcohol. Then add in some vanilla vodka, milk, and cinnamon. Perfect for those late nights when you’re in the mood for a coffee-based cocktail but don’t want to stay up all night.
7. Bacon Cherry Creek
Natalie Bovis is, among other things, a highly respected mixologist in the liquor industry. But when someone tells you to stick four strips of cooked bacon into a bottle of Knob Creek, you listen to that person. And then if she tells you to mix that bacon-infused bourbon with ruby port and a cherry-cinnamon syrup, you nod your head politely and do as she says.
8. The Root to Longevity
Pureed beets aren’t the first thing you’d think of when trying to make a drink. Or maybe they are, but the good news is you’re not as weird as some people think if that’s the case. This drink mixes gin, lemon, and mint, with a sweetened beet puree. It’s health food, people.
9. Eucalyptus Martini
There are dozens of variations of the classic Martini out there, but this one is probably the most refreshing. Gin, lime juice, and egg white mix with a eucalyptus infused syrup to create a drink that’ll cool you off long before the alcohol kicks in and makes you forget about the heat.
10. The Caipirinha
It’s the national drink of Brazil, a country with a rich culture that people only associate with waxing procedures. Let’s elevate their standing in the world by ditching our Mojitos this year and drinking Caipirinhas instead. The chief ingredient is Cachaça, a liquor made from distilled sugar cane juice (very close to white rum). You start this drink by muddling a quartered lime with sugar. When all the juice is out and the sugar’s been infused, shake it up with lime juice and Cachaça, and stop fretting about unwanted body hair.
What’s great about all these trendy cocktails is they’re not the kind of drinks that have to be served in a bar. They’re perfect complements to all kinds of meals that a full service restaurant might offer. With their wide variety of ingredients and more involved preparations, these drinks transcend the simple “cocktail.” They’re specialty drinks that merit a lot attention in your menu, whether you’re a straight-up bar or an eatery with an eye for creative fare.
That means that you should put some thought into how you market these inside the walls of your establishment—a fancy way of saying how you present them on your menu. Alcohol is traditionally a high-margin item, and strategically including these drinks on your menu is a great way to boost revenue.
If you’re not familiar with the psychology of menu design, you’d be surprised at the kinds of tricks and tools you can employ to guide your customers’ eyes and influence their decisions. Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered there, too.