And with the eyes of the world on Brazil this summer, Latin flavours are expected to come to the fore when it comes to the drinks being ordered at the bar.
This summer will be “all about Latin America”, according to Gabriela Moncada of Proximo Spirits UK, whose brands include Jose Cuervo tequila and black spiced rum The Kraken.
She reckons tequila, cachaca, mescal and pisco will be “must stock” spirits; and that the weather will also have an impact on what people order at the bar.
“You don’t find many people eating stew in the height of summer, and drinks are the same,” said Moncada.
“Guests need to be attracted with seasonal fruits, bright colours and garnishes.”
Staff training is critical for pubs and bars serving cocktails to deliver on well-made drinks.
Moncado’s comments were echoed by Andrew King, CEO of cocktail mixer brand Funkin.
“This summer it’s all about the flavours of Brazil and Brazilian-themed cocktails will be popular,” he said.
“International events give licensees a great opportunity to optimise sales with themed cocktail menus.
“Brazilian flavours are set to be a huge focus this summer and operators that are able to tap into this trend can see a boost in sales.”
Creating a dedicated range of summer cocktails was suggested by Alec Morgan of Love Drinks, distributor of Gosling’s rum and Hayman’s gin, as a way to incorporate summer cocktails without a complete overhaul of the drinks list.
“I think that one of the best ways to cater for consumer demand when it comes to summer drinks is to launch a mini-summer drinks menu, which you can easily tweak and change,” said Morgan.
“This means that there’s no need to alter your core drinks menu and it can be quickly adapted should the need arise. Making sure that menus change with the season helps to ensure that the customer is always offered something new and exciting.
“There’s an opportunity to really get creative with your drinks menu with events that are planned for this summer such as the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games so I’d embrace it.”
Drinks presentation was also highlighted by Morgan as essential to a quality serve.
“People ‘drink’ with their eyes and nose too, so making sure the drink is eye-catching and aroma-filled with fresh, inventive garnishes really helps to boost sales,” he said.
“Glassware should be functional and enhance the drink.
“I find that heavier weighted glassware stops the ice from melting too quickly,” he said, adding that ice is a “vital component” in most summer drinks.
“There’s nothing like a cool, refreshing long drink with the right ice for the drink, whether it’s cubed, crushed or from the block,” said Morgan.
“Too little and it melts quickly, diluting the drink, which is contrary to the belief that less ice is better.”
The importance of offering a range of cold drinks was also highlighted by Moncado, who said: “The best way to offer summer flavours is to make them frozen – use a blender and create drinks with fresh fruit, purees and ice.”
Whatever the serve, keeping bar staff up to scratch is crucial, according to King at Funkin.
“Staff training is critical for pubs and bars serving cocktails to deliver on well-made drinks,” he said.
Too little ice and it melts quickly, diluting the drink, which is contrary to the belief that less ice is better.
“Operators should keep their cocktail menus simple and stick to a base of cocktails that tap into the current trends.
“It’s important the staff feel comfortable making those cocktails and telling customers about them.”
And there’s no better time to tweak the cocktail list, according to Julie Ingham of Continental Wine & Food, who said summer will be the “perfect time” for cocktails.
“The warmer weather makes people feel more relaxed and leaves them wanting to enjoy the longer evenings, typically al fresco if possible,” she said.