Spring is once again upon us, and that means it is time to refresh your menu. Leave the cold weather cocktail flavors of winter behind and start implementing flavors reminiscent of warm weather and sunny days.
But what new and fresh ideas are worth exploring this season? Together, let's take a look at what flavor direction you may want to go in and how to make cocktails that are as profitable as they are tasty.
What Flavors Are Trending This Spring?
When you consider spring flavors, you have to focus on the naturally occurring foods that you can find during this time. We’re predisposed to think of spring as a time of renewal, refreshment, and health. Since many people are coming out of winter hibernation, they desire drinks that are light and refreshing.
What flavors do customers want to taste during spring? Mostly, you’ll want to focus on sweet (but not too sweet!), fruity flavors similar to those of summer. Unlike the hotter months, you can get away with alcohol-rich drinks while also getting the benefit of fruit flavors that are not quite in season, like peaches for instance.
So, you want to aim for light, sweet, and somewhat strong drinks to keep your patrons jubilant about the new weather patterns.
The Impact of Profitability — Budget-Friendly Spring Fruits and Herbs
When considering your drink menu for spring, you should remember that this time of year comes with a wide variety of low-cost and in-season ingredients such as:
- Blueberries (Late Spring)
- Cantaloupe(Late Spring)
These versatile items can easily work as ingredients on any basic cocktail menu. There is no need to focus on cocktail ingredients that are out of season when you can get these integral ones for so little money. With that in mind, you should review your menu and past orders to get the best deals on these ingredients. And don't forget, it's last call for all the delicious winter citrus fruits.
Aside from springtime fruits, herbs are popping up left and right and are reminiscent of spring renewal. Consider these low-cost and abundant herbs:
- Lemon Balm
Mixing budget-friendly springtime fruits and herbs can impart huge flavor to cocktails without inflating inventory costs. Consider infusions and homemade fruit syrups as a way to add longevity to ingredient shelf lives and reduce ordering frequency and overall costs.
Profitable Spring Cocktail Ideas to Boost Bar Sales
When you are putting together your list of drinks for the spring, you must take into account your menu and patrons. Will they like these flavors or are you better off sticking to beer and wine? With that in mind, work on a few of the drinks that we’ve come up with instead of all of them, and see how they react. Don’t be afraid to pull the plug on the ones that are not successful enough to make money.
These are a few of the best drinks that you can add to your spring cocktail menu that will boost sales, generate interest, and don't require any outlandish ingredients. Consider these as general cocktail ideas to start as a base and then plus up with imagination and creativity.
1. Springtime Highballs
Highballs have never been more popular and more versatile. We wrote about the history of this elemental cocktail last year and continue to advocate for it today. Highballs are the ultimate blank-slate cocktail. Infused spirits or fruit/herb additions can really take a basic highball to new heights. Keep it simple with the classic ingredients or take it a step up with Bar Goto’s Highball No. 2 Recipe.
- 1 oz. imo shochu
- ¼ oz. mezcal
- 1 oz. tonic water
- 3 oz. club soda
- Stir ice, shochu, and mezcal in a ceramic mug. Top with tonic water and club soda. Garnish with orange peel.
2. Daiquiris or Gimlets
The Daiquiri is another very simple drink that has endless amounts of custom possibilities. That means it is perfect for a bar or restaurant looking to make a signature daiquiri to serve its patrons. The base ingredients for a daiquiri are white rum, simple syrup, and lime juice (also consider a darker, non-spiced rum or various flavors of simple syrup for a unique twist).
For a gimlet, sub rum for vodka or gin. You can make endless different flavors for the daiquiri or gimlet. Shaking either with fresh mint or basil takes this simple cocktail to new territories. Its low-cost nature will leave larger room for profits, so be sure to have your bartenders encourage it for guests looking for something simple and refreshing that's somewhat sessionable. Here's a recipe for a simple Basil Gimlet.
- 2 oz Gin or Vodka
- 1 oz Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
- 5 Basil Leaves
- Garnish: Basil Leaf
- Muddle the basil leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
- Add all other ingredients and ice.
- Shake until chilled, about 15 seconds.
- Fine strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a basil leaf.
3. Whiskey Sours (With or Without Eggwhite)
Like a Daiquiri or Gimlet, Whiskey Sours are another simple, three-ingredient cocktail that can be fully customized to make a unique cocktail to include on your bar's new spring menu. It's also equally as low-cost, too.
Whiskey, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup are all you need to shake one up, however, consider adding fresh, savory herbs such as rosemary or thyme for a new twist. Additionally, whip it first with egg whites before shaking it with ice to create a frothy, delicious version more in line with the classic sours of the cocktail's glory days. Swapping simple syrup for honey syrup can totally change the dynamic. What results is a Whiskey Sour variation: The Gold Rush — one of the breakout cocktails made famous by New York's late, Milk & Honey.
- 2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
- 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
- 3/4 oz Honey Syrup (3:1, Honey:Water)
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin and shake with ice.
- Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
The Mimosa is a springtime favorite due to its light taste and easy-to-drink quality. It's also incredibly budget-friendly. In this case, you will mix champagne (opt for sparkling wine or prosecco to save on costs) with a smidge of orange juice. Garnish with an orange twist for a touch of flare.
While this cocktail is most preferred by the brunch crowd, it's a simple formula that can be tweaked for a unique rendition of the classic. For example, The Bellini cocktail was created in 1948 at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani. The cocktail calls for peach puree instead of orange juice. Simple, yet effective.
- 1 1/2 oz Fresh White Peach Puree
- Prosecco, chilled, to top
- Garnish: Peach Slice
- Add the Peach Puree to a Champagne flute or similar glass.
- Fill with Prosecco.
- Garnish with a Peach Slice.
5. Spiked Lemonades
Whether you mix it up on your own or pour it from a bottle, spike lemonades are a very popular cocktail choice during the spring. For this drink, you will need sugar, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, gin or vodka, and some slices of fruit for your garnish. It’s simple to make even though it can take time to get it ready to serve. You can increase the price point on this drink with ease since it’s homemade, and you can add different fruits, like strawberry, or herbs like mint, to increase its appeal. Make it in batches for an easy and quick pour over ice, or even consider bottling individually for a special serving touch.
Sangria is a very simple and tasty beverage that packs plenty of flavor and has the potential to be personalized by any bartender. The essential elements are red wine, fresh fruits (like pineapple and strawberry), brandy, and orange juice. You mix it up and let it all mingle in a fridge for a while, serving it chilled. If you want to make the drink a tad more exciting, feel free to add a citrus soda or prosecco to the mix so it turns into an even more refreshing sparkling beverage.
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