Shake up your cocktail offer

Now is the time to cash in with Christmas serves

• Both classic cocktails and winter warmers are expected to sell well, according to drinks firms.
• Both classic cocktails and winter warmers are expected to sell well, according to drinks firms.

SO here it is: Christmas is just around the corner and cocktails look set to be the serve of the season.

That’s certainly the message from some drinks firms, who predict an uplift in festive drinks and seasonal serves as office nights out and family get-togethers descend on bars and restaurants in the coming weeks.
Roy Summers, from distributor First Drinks, said consumers are more likely to ‘treat themselves’ in the run-up to Christmas.
“In the on-trade, these sales are a result of drinkers trading up to a special drink such as a premium variant or a cocktail,” he said.
Offering a range of cocktails tailored to a venue is key, according to Andrew Leat of drinks giant Diageo.
“Licensees should remember to choose a cocktail list that suits their style of outlet and the customers they attract,” he said.
“Outlets offering Christmas cocktails should choose a short, well thought-out list with no more than 12 options.”
Festive serves such as hot drinks can prove particularly popular at this time of year, say firms.
“The classics are always great for a celebration and will be winners of course,” said Andrew King, chief executive of cocktail mixer brand Funkin.
“But additionally we expect to see some fun innovation here like hot cocktails, dark rum Mojitos, and then some interesting lower ABV cocktails like wine cocktails.”
While choosing the right cocktails for the menu is important, it’s also worth bearing in mind that any changes to the drinks list can put bar staff under pressure.
“Licensees should consider whether bar staff will be able to cope with individual cocktail creations when customers are clamouring for their pints,” said Terry Barker at Cellar Trends.
However, there are alternatives for pubs where extra training may be difficult.
Steve Dingley, of cocktail mix brand Finest Call, said pre-mix cocktail products make it possible for outlets to offer cocktails quickly and efficiently without a need for extra staff training.
“Now a two-pour cocktail, pour the base spirit and pour the selected mix, is done in less time than it takes to pull a pint,” he said.
With a well-planned cocktail list and appropriate staff training in place, pubs could be well-positioned to make the most of the festive season.
“By serving an array of Christmas-themed cocktails, a bar will not only encourage experimentation amongst patrons, giving the opportunity for greater profit margins, but also promote their business as aware of festive consumer trends,” said Guy Cooper of back-bar equipment supplier Mitchell & Cooper.