Advice from the Experts – Mix it up – Kat Stanley Whyte

Whether pre-pandemic or during lockdown, spirit-based drinks have been enjoying a surge in interest over these past few years, even with fierce competition across the drinks sector. The gin boom shows no signs of flagging, the rum moon is still rising, vermouth is back with a vengeance, the spritz is sexy again, mezcal has been making its move and even liqueurs have been enjoying a moment in the sun. So, as our fully unrestricted summer really starts this July, here’s my tips to get in the cocktail spirit and ensure you don’t miss out on the plaudits, profit and positive promotion. 

Class Glass

Central to the serve, experience, visual appeal and taste, choose the correct glass to match the drink. People have probably been drinking out of all kinds of receptacles at home this past year so now is the time to give them a reminder of the quintessential cocktail experience and that starts with the right glass.

Simplicity

The G&T, Negroni, Daquiris, Rum Punch, Tom Collins and Old Fashioned are classics, much-loved and in-vogue for a reason so if you’re new to the cocktail game, first master these and keep things simple. Once you’re confident with the classics, start experimenting and adding your own twists.  You don’t need hundreds of spirits, recipes and ingredients for an exciting menu. Just like the perfect cocktail, it’s about quality and balance. 

Fizz

It’s going to be an explosion of celebrations in July so expect bubbles to play a big role as friends and families reunite and indulge. A selection of spritz-style drinks or cocktails with a champagne or Prosecco top are essential for these alfresco occasions in the sun and will delight all from beach bar to care home garden.     

Batch

This is a great way to achieve a fast serve and to help ingredients infuse. Measure and mix your spirits in bulk in a bottle, chill if required and then when it comes to the serve, it’s just the finishing touches. 

Takeaway

It’s not just a pandemic fad, takeaway cocktails are well and truly here to stay so if you have a licence, make sure you have a cocktail offering to-go. Even with hospitality reopening, expect there to be a plenty of outdoor socialising over cocktails so an array of creative serves for off-premises is vital.    

Bitters

Seen as the ‘seasoning’ for drinks, bitters are very much back in fashion, coming in all sorts of flavours from the well-known angostura bitters to more citrus, berry and herbal-led concoctions. A fab way of flirting with flavour, bringing ingredients together and adding dimensions.   

Make Your Own

Try infusing your own spirits, making your own syrups or even creating your own bitters. This is great fun and will add to your expertise but it will also help you create one-off drinks and flavours. 

Mezcal

A growing trend over the last few years across the UK, it’s very underrated with a spectrum of different flavours on offer from smoky to zesty to fruity. Mezcal is also very versatile whether you want it straight or in a cocktail and is also fantastic when paired with food. Try it alongside Asian dishes and spicy plates like a classic chilli and even chocolate.

Cocktail Care

Classic cocktails are a fantastic element to add to the weekly menu or events schedule at care homes and can be a good way of taking guests on a trip down memory lane. They’re also brilliant for theming or adding a bit of class to events and guests can even get involved with the making and shaking.