Summer drinks: keeping it simple

Operators advised to strive for quality over quantity with seasonal serves

An outlet’s summer-inspired drinks list should not outpace the capabilities of its bartenders.

IN today’s on-trade, there’s arguably more flair and innovation to be seen than ever before, with a growing number of pubs and bars across the country vying to stand out from the crowd.

But for licensees looking to bolster sales this season, the answer is simpler than it may initially appear, according to drinks firms, who said that a straightforward drinks list can go a long way this summer.

“Simple drinks that are well-executed are far better than complex drinks [which lack] consistency,” said EmmaLi Stenhouse, brand ambassador for spiced rum Sailor Jerry.

“If an operator is not confident that all staff can execute the menu to the same quality standard, simplify it so it is possible.”

This was echoed by Dan Bolton, managing director of drinks distributor Hi-Spirits, who said operators should be aware and mindful of their bar staff’s capabilities when curating a summer-inspired drinks list.

“In a busy mainstream bar, offering a few classic serves that can be made quickly and simply without holding up service will be enough,” he said.

Twists on classics, such as a Mojito, “can help to add variety without increasing the demands on bar staff”, added Bolton.

With simplicity in mind, Paul Miller, co-founder of Eden Mill, advised licensees to “take advantage of the perfect serve suggestions from [drinks] brands”.

Stenhouse of Sailor Jerry advised operators to curate “a short list of cocktails to ensure there is no menu fatigue, and [so] the list is easier to navigate for consumers”.

However, it’s important that a balance is struck, with Vicky McQueen of Callandar-based McQueen Gin reckoning that licensees should aim to be “sensibly adventurous”, as “people are always looking for something a bit different”.

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Top tips

  • Welcoming environment:  be it through boards on the pavement outside or through the attitude of staff inside, it goes without saying that making customers feel welcome is a sure-fire way of ensuring repeat custom.
  • Something for all: variety is important. Make sure your offerings continue to meet the needs of the loyal customers, but also introduce enough variety to suit new customers.
  • Sensibly adventurous: we encourage operators to get a bit creative, whether that is the set up of the beer garden or the funky new cocktail on the menu.

– Supplied by McQueen Gin.