Take an elevated position this year

Festive season could be big if operators can deliver, drinks firm says

Christmas Drinks

HIGH quality serves and experiences customers can’t get in their homes will be key to making the most of Christmas and new year trade this year, according to drinks giant Pernod Ricard UK.

The company, which counts Absolut, Beefeater, Havana Club, Jameson and The Glenlivet among its brands, has stressed the importance of providing “elevated experiences” for visitors as they visit pubs, bars and restaurants over the festive season – both in terms of serves and service.

Research commissioned by the business found that a sizeable share of adults – 63% of 18 to 54 year olds – expect to go out more often this festive season than before the pandemic.

Planned get-togethers and work Christmas parties are predicted to be the big on-trade occasions this year, with cocktails and premium spirits expected to prove popular with customers.

Quoting figures from CGA, Pernod Ricard said premium spirits have grown their share of total alcohol since venues reopened earlier this year, and so “present an opportunity for operators to maximise spend at Christmas”.

Flavoured gin, flavoured vodka, white rum and spiced rum were forecast to be big sellers, with dark spirits also expected to see “a significant uplift” in December.

And cocktails will have to be complex enough that customers will have trouble recreating them at home, as well as served in “distinctive serveware” with “eye-catching garnishes”.

In addition to developing a number of festive-themed serves for its brands, Pernod Ricard has been gearing up for the 2021 festive season by distributing a range of branded serving vessels to venues across the UK.

These include branded enamel mugs and urns for Havana Club and Beefeater and branded ‘serving trees’ which can be used to hold glasses.

The company said these devices can be used “as a pre-bookable sales driver” in venues.
The business has also created ‘shimmer drops’, which can change the colour of serves and make them more ‘Instagrammable’ for customers.

Bartenders around the UK will also have the chance to develop their knowledge and skills with Pernod Ricard picking up the tab for 300 WSET courses.

And the company will be hosting events in customer venues, where consumers will be able to attend 90-minute cocktail masterclasses.

Further masterclasses will be available online.

“This Christmas will be more important than ever as family and friends reunite, and look for ways to make the time spent together more special,” said James Bremner, on-trade channel director at Pernod Ricard UK.

“It’s been a tough year for the hospitality sector and we are supporting operators with superb serves and elevated experiences that will remind consumers about the convivial moments the on-trade can offer. This year we are going bigger and better with record investment in training to upskill bartenders in delivering aspirational cocktails, and will be supercharging our masterclasses with added-value hacks to help venues own the cocktail occasion and capitalise on the opportunity great drinks present.”

The company’s festive serves include:
• Jameson Orange Dark Chocolate Espresso Martini
45ml Jameson Orange
15ml Kahlúa
40ml espresso
10ml dark chocolate syrup (simple sugar syrup mixed with cocoa powder)
Dark chocolate shavings
Orange zest

Method: add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake hard with ice. Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass.

• Christmas Mojito
50ml Havana Club Cuban Spiced
15ml grapefruit juice
10ml sugar syrup
8-12 mint leaves
Splash soda water
Grapefruit slice

Method: combine ingredients over crushed ice, churn, top with ice and soda. Magic: try replacing your soda water with a tropical soda to highlight the different fruity notes in the Havana Club Cuban Spiced.

• Panettone Sour
40ml Malfy con Arancia
20ml Amaretto
20ml lemon juice
20ml egg white
Dash Angostura Bitters
Star Anise

Method: shake ingredients over ice, double strain into glassware. Magic: a cleaner and fresher take on the classic Amaretto Sour. Pairs perfectly with a slice of toasted Panettone and some ricotta.

• Black Forest Berry
40ml Monkey 47
20ml cherry liqueur
20ml lemon juice
20ml Morello cherry pureé
Egg white
Berry dust
Mint sprig

Method: shake ingredients over ice, double strain into glassware.

• Gin-ger Apple
50ml Beefeater London Dry Gin
200ml ginger beer
150ml apple juice
5ml honey
1 lemon wedge, squeezed
Cinnamon stick

Method: add all ingredients except gin to a pan and warm through. Pour into heat-proof glass or mug, add gin and stir to combine.