The biggest consumer change in our venue across the season is that more people want to sit outside and drink fruity and refreshing cocktails. We increased our outside seating and this year we are working with Bacardi to create a Mojito menu with a focus on customer interaction.
Long drinks, cocktails, wine and cider all increase in popularity over the summer months. In particular, we notice a large increase in sales of our fruit ciders, cocktails and lighter more floral wines.
It’s very important because the summer coincides with the school holidays so you want to have a varied selection of soft drinks to offer to the high number of families that will be out during this time. It’s also crucial to have low-ABV cocktails and non-alcoholic beers on offer as the demand for these has increased.
We work with brands to develop seasonal cocktails. White spirits and low-ABV cocktails work best during the summer so we have tried to incorporate this into our menu. Frozen/blended drinks, such as our Strawberry Daiquiri, prove popular when the warm weather hits too.
We offer table service for drinks to allow people to relax at their tables in the hope that it encourages them to stay longer. Having a snack menu also encourages customers to stay longer as they don’t need to go somewhere else if they are feeling peckish.
As the summer starts, we take the time to look at our menu, revamp serves and try out new cocktails. This is the perfect time of year to try out new techniques, and travel to different distilleries. We definitely start doing more brand training/masterclasses as well, with several on every week. It’s important to make sure that your staff stays engaged and are constantly learning as well. Summer is an excellent time to grow together as a team.
There is definitely a push for lighter cocktails and drinks with a bit of length to them. Classics like Collins and Mojitos, those really refreshing drinks get ordered more often. As the days get longer, you see people ordering G&Ts and ciders as opposed to boozier cocktails. Summer has a much more relaxed feel to it, so you see more guests coming in to unwind for a while, leaving the hustle and bustle of busy work behind them.
I think it’s essential for any bar to have spirit-free drinks on their menu. Every beverage that leaves a bar should be treated with the same attention to detail, whether it’s spirit based or not. Low and no drinks should be so much more than juice and grenadine.
We start using more fresh berries in our cocktails as they are abundant in our area this time of year. More often than not we will go out ourselves and pick flowers and such for the bar for garnishes. Clover Clubs definitely begin to become more popular at this time of year as well as flavoured Mojitos and Moscow Mules, really cocktails that have a bit of a sour bite to them.
Draffens is a hidden gem. We are a speakeasy with no sign on the door, no social media and no phone. I think when people come into our bar they are looking for a bit of an escape and we do our best to put on a show for everyone. There is a story behind everything we do and that keeps guests staying to find out more.