Tapping into the summer spirits

Seasonal serves set to soar this season, drinks firms say

WHEN it comes to seasonal serves, spirits offer endless scope to create a plethora of different drinks to suit the weather and time of year.

And with summer now squarely on the horizon, operators who ensure their back-bar and drinks menus feature more than a hint of summer could reap the rewards.

It goes without saying that gin’s popularity is expected to continue to rise this summer.
Johna Penman, UK trade and consumer marketing director at Ian Macleod Distillers, whose portfolio includes Edinburgh Gin, Islay single malt Smokehead and Langs rum, said citrus gin serves are expected to prove particularly popular.

“Given gin’s natural ability to lend itself to citrus notes, it’s an obvious and much-loved pairing,” said Penman.

“The added flavours essentially amplify the natural flavours that already exist within the gin and as we head into the summer months, we would expect to see its popularity grow.
“Our Sicilian Spritz (see recipe below) is the perfect refreshing, citrus spritz for the spring/summer months. It combines sharp citrus and sweet lemonade with a savoury hit from fresh thyme.”

Anticipated demand for citrus serves was underlined by Sandra Brunet, marketing director of Campari Group UK, who said summer and cocktails are a “match made in heaven”.
“In addition to the spontaneous, unplanned beer garden occasions, there is a huge opportunity for pubs to boost sales of cocktails this summer around key milestone events, such as the one-off Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday,” said Brunet.

“Offering a range of much-loved drinks to accompany both unprompted and planned pub occasions is therefore key for publicans and bar managers.

“Establishments can upsell by offering Italian light bites alongside iconic cocktails like the Aperol Spritz, bringing a taste of the Mediterranean to the nation this summer. Deli meats, cheeses and olives are the perfect accompaniment for refreshing cocktails – to be enjoyed al fresco in beer gardens across the UK.”

The benefits of offering seasonal serves were highlighted by Johnny Dennys, head of brand and trade marketing at Mast-Jägermeister UK.

“Whilst shot sales offer operators the opportunity to boost sales, Jägermeister can also be featured in cocktails, such as a twist on a Mule, making the brand even more profitable,” said Dennys.

“Using Jägermeister, ginger beer, squeezed lime and a cucumber slice, this simple version of a classic Mule works well on those warmer summer evenings, before shots are served.
“We also expect coffee to remain a popular flavour this summer.

“Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee, which offers an alternative shot serve with a barista touch, bringing the shot occasion earlier in the evening, is ideal for summer as consumers tend to start their nights a bit earlier.

“In addition to an ice cold shot, Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee can make a simple and great-tasting Espresso Martini using only three ingredients giving operators a simple and cost-effective way of creating one of the UK’s top ten cocktails – just add espresso and sugar syrup to Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee for a balanced Espresso Martini.”

Of course, offering low and no-alcohol seasonal serves is just as important.

Alex Carlton, chief executive of Elegantly Spirited and co-founder of non-alcoholic spirits range Strykk, said operators should ensure they offer alcohol-free versions of cocktails like the Espresso Martini and Porn Star Martini – both of which he said are expected to sell well this summer.

“By stocking Strykk, operators can also offer non-alcoholic versions of classic spirit-mixer serves such as Not G*n & Tonic and Not R*m & Cola,” said Carlton.

“Strykk non-alc spirits are really easy for bar staff to use as they simply replace the alcohol equivalent. They allow consumers to stay in the round but drink less alcohol and the bar to serve high value drinks to all guests.”

Summer serves:
• Sicilian Spritz, Edinburgh Gin
25ml Edinburgh Gin’s Lemon & Jasmine gin
25ml limoncello
12.5ml lemon juice
2 sprigs thyme
Sweet lemonade to top

Method: Muddle the gin, limoncello, lemon juice and a sprig of thyme in a shaker. Add ice, shake and fine strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with thyme and a lemon peel.

• Galloway Forager, Hills & Harbour Gin
50ml Hills & Harbour Gin
25ml elderflower cordial
5 drops grapefruit oleo saccharum
1 sprig Noble Fir
Soda to top

Method: Fill Boston shaker with ice. Pour 50ml Hills & Harbour Gin over ice. Pipette five drops of grapefruit oleo saccharu, pour 25ml elderflower cordial, add 1 sprig Noble Fir. Shake and double strain into ice-filled rocks glass. Top with soda. Garnish with grapefruit half-moon and sprig of Noble Fir.