Even if summer (or spring for that matter) hasn’t arrived in Scotland quite yet, operators would do well to get their long serves ready in preparation for sunnier days.
And whether looking at sharing pitchers, cocktails or long mixed serves, drinks firms say it’s the familiar that will be the secret to keeping the tills ringing.
Ashley Moore, category development manager at Diageo, said: “Consumers feel more comfortable exploring a new drink when it is based on something they already know and love.
“Something as simple as gin and tonic can be brought to life using creative and interactive serves.
“Perhaps a DIY gin and tonic serve which is beautifully presented, along with a choice of mixers, seasonal garnishes and some seasonal fresh herbs to make it a unique and memorable experience that customers can personalise themselves.”
Some categories are particularly well suited to longer serves, claimed Jonathan Dennys, customer marketing and insight controller with Mast-Jaegermeister UK.
He said: “Speciality spirits are particularly popular due to their versatility, as they can be served neat but also lend themselves particularly well to long serves and cocktails.”
Cocktails, in particular, should be made to suit the season through the use of “fresh fruit and refreshing mixers”, according to James Wright, head of spirits and agency brands at Halewood International, which markets Whitley Neill Gin.
The importance of fresh garnishes was also stressed by Graham Carr-Smith of soft drink brand Qcumber.
“Adding a fresh garnish is a really easy way to give long mixed drinks a summery twist,” said Carr-Smith.
“A slice of lemon, lime or cucumber can transform a drink – both in taste and appearance. Plus, adding a slice of cucumber or a sprig of garden mint shows that an outlet really cares about presenting its long drinks in the best way possible.
“Garnishes are really important, but it is, of course, essential that these garnishes are fresh and flavoursome.”
Pitcher serves can also be particularly useful in boosting sales, according to Funkin managing director Andrew King.
He said: “Pitcher serves are perfect for summer as consumers can sit outdoors and enjoy a drink to share with friends. Topped with a fresh and delicious fruity garnish, pitchers add theatre and help outlets access the important outdoor opportunity, boosting incremental sales throughout the warmer months.”
He said “disco cocktails” such as the Piña Colada had risen in popularity.
“Often made with rum, disco cocktails are those classic drinks like the Strawberry Daiquiri that evoke fun memories and feature nostalgic flavours consumers are looking for,” said King.