Don’t forget the soft side

Mixers remain a crucial component of a good cocktail

Bright, attractively coloured cocktails will prove popular in the year ahead, said Fever-Tree

YOU’RE only as strong as your weakest link. It’s a phrase which, when it comes to capitalising on the continued strong demand for cocktails, rings true.

From the spirit, to the glassware, to the garnish, there’s a raft of elements which have to come together to make sure a cocktail is just right.

And licensees have been warned not to let their mixers become the weak link on the cocktail menu.

On-trade customers now have an expectation of premium quality throughout a drinks offer, according to Jennifer Draper of soft drinks firm Franklin & Sons.

She said: “The importance of premium cocktails has become increasingly more prominent over the last few years.”

Draper said, in turn, premium softs “have also grown in popularity in recent years”.

Citing the Franklin & Sons Spirit Report 2017, she said one in three consumers “now insist on only buying premium branded mixers”.

Customers are more aware than ever before about what they are consuming.

With consumers increasingly after “the premium experience”, Draper said “bars need to recognise this and do all they can to ensure they stay ahead in such a competitive market”.

Echoing this view, Fergus Franks,  on-trade marketing manager at Fever-Tree, said customers “are more aware than ever before about what they are consuming”.

“They are also aware of the vast amount of choice that is available within the soft drinks category,” he said.

Therefore, with spring officially here, now is the perfect time for outlets to switch up their cocktail list to reflect the new season – and mixers can play a big role in this regard, according to soft drinks firms.

“Traditional summery flavours, such as refreshing strawberry and citrus lemon and orange, are certain to feature on cocktail menus as we move into spring,” said Draper of Franklin & Sons.

“These flavours epitomise the warm, summer months; uplifting and sharp, they cut through the palate and offer an invigorating flavour profile when mixed into cocktails.”

Franks of Fever-Tree agreed, adding that he foresees a growing interest in the ingredients that go into drinks in the year ahead.

“For 2018, we forecast a continuation for the nation’s growing love of gin, but also a rise in bright, attractively coloured drinks, using naturally sourced ingredients,” said Franks.

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Keeping a firm grip on the basics


• Know your cocktails by heart. Customers like to know the drink is being created by someone knowledgeable about the serve.

• Ensure you’re using the right glassware for the cocktail serve and that it’s squeaky clean.

• Taste as you go;  you don’t want the customer to be the one to find out something isn’t right.

• Always garnish.

– Supplied by Matthew Clark.