Get people talking with cocktails

Variety, visibility and quality are the secrets to summer success, say firms


SUMMER is almost here and with the warmer weather comes the chance for publicans to serve up something a little different.

Subsequently, it’s the ideal time for licensees to review their cocktail range, say drinks firms.
“Summer is the best time of year for pubs and bars to offer cocktails,” said Andrew King, CEO of cocktail ready-mix brand Funkin.
“As the weather gets warmer, people are looking for light and refreshing drinks that are flavourful and unique.”
Creating a cocktail list is “vital”, according to King, but when it comes to finalising a cocktail menu, sometimes straightforward is best.
“Creating a cocktail list doesn’t have to be difficult,” said King.
“In fact, the key to creating a successful cocktail list is simplicity. We advise focusing on a base of cocktails that tap into the current trends and that are easy to make in a fast-paced environment.”
Publicans should look to build a varied cocktail list, said King, suggesting operators touch on all the major spirit categories and current trends.
“It is important to build a cocktail list that features different spirits, including basics like rum, vodka, gin, whiskey and tequila, but to also consider spirits such cachaça, the spirit of Brazil, to tie in with the big summer theme this year,” he said.
“Another trend that we are seeing this summer is wine-based cocktails. We are introducing this serve, called wine spritzers (a combination of Moscato, Funkin Strawberry Daiquiri and soda), to pubs, bars and restaurants as it’s a particularly good cocktail for the summer months.
“Wine spritzers have a lower ABV than cocktails, creating additional drinking occasions such as lunchtime, after work or a gathering with friends.”
It’s also important to provide as much information as possible to the consumer, said James Wright of Halewood International, the firm behind Lamb’s Navy rum and Whitley Neill gin.
Wright said operators should consider including tasting notes on their menus, “so that customers can find out a little bit more about products that they may not have tried before to remove a potential barrier for trial and purchase – this is particularly relevant when trying to get people to trade up,” said Wright.
As well as choosing the right flavours, Wright said the theatrical element of a cocktail serve is important in growing sales.
“The theatre of creating and serving a long drink is important,” he said.
“By presenting a drink in a unique and exciting way, the serve creates added value which helps to drive rate-of-sale.”
Visibility is another important factor in growing demand for cocktails.
“Creating stand out point of sale will be key to driving demand for new serves,” added Wright.
“Operators can work with brands to ensure they are using materials provided by brands to create presence on the front and back bar. Clear and engaging point of sale will be important to helping consumers make their drink choices when at the bar.”
With engaging point of sale and a well prepared cocktail menu, the only thing left to do is pour the drinks.
Gabriela Moncada of Proximo Spirits UK, whose brands include Jose Cuervo tequila and black spiced rum The Kraken, reminded operators not to underestimate the “power of word of mouth” when it comes to the quality of serve.
“If a customer likes your drinks they will recommend them, so invest in your staff, train them, treat them well and get them involved in the drinks list – they will do the rest,” said Moncada.
“Always use fresh fruit and garnishes to attract attention too.”