A little can go a long way

Simple steps like garnishes or vessels can help lift mixed drinks

When it comes to growing sales of long mixed drinks this summer, little things could make a big difference.

According to drinks firms, simple changes such as introducing a different garnish or using an unusual drinking vessel could help outlets establish a unique selling point with regard to their selection of long drinks.

Ashley Moore, category development manager at Diageo, said when it comes to choosing unusual vessels for serving drinks “there’s not really a limit”.

Orchards Peach[2]

“If it carries liquid then you could use it,” said Moore.

“Think about something that fits with your brand and add to it – perhaps mini petrol pumps, teapots, or mini bathtubs?”

Different or unusual vessels can also be introduced around specific dates or events, said Andrew King, managing director of cocktail mixer brand Funkin.

“Vessels can be a great selling point for operators and they give consumers that added value they are looking for when buying a special cocktail,” said King.

“Unique vessels could be used for sporting events like Wimbledon or a fun holiday like Halloween.

“In 2014, we had great success with skull mugs for Halloween, which helped operators capitalise on the increased volume of people enjoying a night out and promote special serves.”

King said he expected tequila, vodka and gin to be the big sellers in long drinks this summer, and recommended turning classic cocktails such as the Mojito, Daiquiri or Pina Colada into longer serves through the addition of soft drinks.

This approach is also being taken by the firm behind liqueur brand Jagermeister, which is currently promoting the ‘Root56’ signature serve – mixing Jager with ginger beer and a wedge of lime.

“As the nation’s drinking habits are evolving, there is a great opportunity to tap into changing tastes with a serve suited to year-round enjoyment,” said Nicole Goodwin, director of marketing at Mast-Jaegermeister UK.

And the creativity doesn’t have to stop there. Moore, at Diageo, said the use of more unusual garnishes can be another way to make certain drinks more appealing to customers.

Moore said: “In terms of garnishes, there are some really interesting flavour combinations that can be created – how about chorizo or bacon as a garnish to your Bloody Mary?

“Edible flowers are appearing in food dishes now and are visually stunning – use these as a garnish to bring a drink to life.”

This time of year is particularly suited to trying something new and unusual with garnishes, according to Graham Carr-Smith, creator of soft drink brand Qcumber.

“Adding a fresh garnish is a really easy way to give long mixed drinks a summery twist,” he said.

“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.”

Getting the long drink offer right could pay dividends for outlets, according to Amy Ledger of CWF.

She said: “With the right planning and range of products summer could be an exciting and profitable time for the pub and bar owner and long mixed drinks and cocktails have long been proven to be an excellent way to generate incremental income.”