Cocktail Specials

09 September, 2014

“We have seen our Scottish and Japanese whisky brands such as Bowmore, Auchentoshan, Glen Garioch and Suntory Hibiki and Yamazaki on an upward trend, along with Patron tequila and Pusser’s rum. 

“It has not just increased volume through existing outlets, but bars that have not been strong on cocktail offerings in the past realising the potential they have been missing,” says Barker.

Adolfo Comas, product training and mixology manager at Bacardi Brown Forman Brands (BBFB), says: “There is no benefit to ordering 10 new gins simply because they are ‘on trend’. The reality is that the gin will gather dust on your back bar either because your customers don’t want to drink it, it’s too expensive, or your bartenders don’t know how to sell it.”

Something for everyone

George Workman, managing director of on-tap sparkling wine brand, Frizzenti, says: “A great cocktail list has something for everyone and evolves to stay relevant to consumer trends and changing tastes. It should include the classics and a selection of house specials, as well as a few changing seasonal options to keep things interesting. 

“One of the most important things to remember is the need to be flexible and anticipate that a bartender will sometimes have to go ‘off-list’,” he says.

“You should give consumers the chance to try something new and exciting, but your list should also be as accessible as possible, using clear language and recognisable names. 

“Cocktail lists can be intimidating and the aim is to empower people to be more confident when choosing, not put people off,” adds Workman.

But what is right for the London or New York scene may not be correct for elite bars in other countries.

Ibolya Bakos-Tonner, Caorunn gin global brand manager says: “In Europe, cocktails are dictated by a country’s tradition and climate. 

“Spain was the first to see the success of experimenting with niche garnishes – we have since seen this spread across many other markets.

“Global markets such as the US are interested in foraging. Bartenders are keen to experiment with local flavours and botanicals to differentiate their cocktail lists,” she says.

“Caorunn Gin showcased how local comestibles can add new dimensions to cocktails at the Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans last month (July). Mixologists from New York, San Francisco, Chicago and New Orleans showcased Caorunn in cocktails that have been inspired by foraging and that represent their local area,” says Bakos-Tonner.

Risum-Urth picks up the point: “I’ll give my notion of Denmark. The clientele in Scandinavia is undergoing a rapid transformation. Four or five years ago it was all Long Islands and Mojitos, but people seem to be waking up to the concept of drinking something you don’t know. 

“More and more we get orders for ‘three of something fresh, please’. Industry people I talk to say it’s the same everywhere. Danes tend to be the most adventurous, but also the most heterogeneous group. 

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