Shake up your profits

The Pornstar Martini may be the current holder of the nation’s favourite cocktail crown, but bartenders are getting ever more inventive with a whole host of delicious drinks coming to the fore.

With World Cocktail Day taking place on May 13, we asked the nation’s leading mixologists to share their spirited ideas and twists to shake up cocktail menus.

In addition, the demand for no and low alcoholic beverages is on the increase with 30% of Millennials shunning alcohol all together.

As sober bars grow in popularity, magnificent mocktails and ‘no and low alcohol’ offerings are a drinks menu must-have – but what do the experts recommend to delight customers without the hangover?

MARCO NARDI restaurant manager at Michelin star restaurant L’Ortolan in Reading, Berkshire
Over the last few years there’s definitely been an increased demand for nonalcoholic drinks for guests to enjoy with food. Our Thyme for Tea mocktail fits the bill perfectly. We make a hoppy aromatic syrup from Binary (a de-alcoholised ale) which we shake with Lapsang Souchong and a home-made rosemary and thyme syrup. Served over ice in a cognac balloon and topped off with alcohol-free Binary, it makes a refreshing aromatic drink with an undertone of boozy hops that lets our guests know that they’re not missing out. The depth and structure that the Lapsang Souchong brings and the subtle sweetness from the syrups have made Thyme for Tea a real hit, easily paired with either our halibut or duck.

SARAH LESSER-MOOR brand manager at AAK Foodservice
Mocktails are a great way to meet growing demand for alcoholfree drinks, and Lion’s fruit coulis make it simple to add natural, vibrant colour and flavour. Try a Blueberry Mojito by mixing blueberry coulis, lime juice, and sparkling water and serving garnished with mint leaves; or an Apple & Mango Bellini – stir up equal amounts of chilled non-alcoholic sparkling cider and mango coulis, served with ice and a slice of mango. For a touch of luxury, shake together cacao powder, single cream (oat or dairy) and chilled coffee, and stir through raspberry coulis, for an indulgent Chocolate Raspberry Virgin Martini.

MATT WOMERSLEY of Said The Actress To The Bishop gin parlour, Carlisle This cocktail is a variant of one I learned at Benny’s Bar & Cafe, Fremantle, Perth, Australia with the main change in my cocktail being the use of Chocolate X-Gin. You will need a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of whichever luxury brand your heart desires. One shot of Frangelico, one shot ofChocolate X-Gin, one capful of hazelnut syrup, and a little bit of ice, making sure it’s smaller pieces of ice which will blend easily. Separately you need to prepare one tablespoon of Nutella with a dash of hot water and mix it together. Now you are ready to put all the ingredients in a heavy duty blender and blitz it until it is smooth. Pour into a Martini glass and grate chocolate on top. Divine!

LAURA WILLOUGHBY MBE co-founder of Club Soda, the Mindful Drinking Movement
You can decide which low and no drinks best fit your venue by tasting them. As with your alcohol offer, variety is the spice of life. Don’t assume one option is all you need. Staff training is key. You need to make sure your team serves them with the same care and attention as alcoholic options. They are a great upsell to customers looking for a high-end specialty alternative to traditional softs. Then let your customers know. Adding a section to your drinks menu will draw attention to your offer. And sign up to which lists over 3000 venues and their alcohol-free choices.

CHRIS MCGOVERN head mixologist at the Book Club, Queen of Hoxton and Colours, Hoxton
Gin has been dominating bars, hotels, pubs and clubs for the past decade and has shown no sign of slowing down with all the new quality flavours and infusions available to industry now. For this summer we are looking to focus on gins with infused CBD and fruits, a perfect example of this is MUHU gin, a sweet hibiscus CBD infused gin. As well as gin, expect banana-infused rums to be playing a big part. We’ve just finalised a banana daiquiri made with banana-infused rum, salted caramel and lime. Other trends to look out for is the use of colour in cocktails, expect to see Blue Spirulina cocktails to bring vibrant natural colours to your drinks and Instagram accounts. With the Olympics taking place in Japan this year we are focusing on yuzu, matcha, lychee and other native Japanese ingredients in our menus to bring more aromatic flavours than traditional juice-based ingredients, keeping drinks lighter and more subtle.

JAREK KRAUSEWICZ restaurant manager/ sommelier at The Artichoke, Old
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In 2020 there will be continued interest in the individual gins made with botanicals and herbal undertones. We particularly love our local cold distilled gin from Griffiths Brothers of Penn, the original has zesty citrus and fragrant to herbaceous and earthy notes – best with orange peel and a fresh bay leaf. For the summer, fresh berries come in to their own. Our raspberry passion fruit martini at The Artichoke combines the sourness, and slightly tart passionfruit with the sweetness of raspberries. For health lovers, organic chilled flavour-infused waters are taking off: pineapple and mint, blackberry and sage, watermelon and rosemary are all great combos. This spring we are offering our original take on an Aperol spritz with Campari, prosecco and elderflower/rose syrup with soda water to give a more aromatic and culinary feel to this Venetian classic. For the increasingly popular mocktails we serve our tasting dessert: Tomlinson’s Yorkshire rhubarb in two parts with Cambridge cream and shortbread with a punchy non-alcoholic rhubarb and ginger cocktail.

VINCENZO MARINO mixologist at Aster Restaurant, London
Pornstar Martini: The best (simple yet works well) tip I have to up your Pornstar Martini game is not to add citrus as this will make it more sour rather than sweet. Always use vanilla vodka rather than normal vodka and vanilla syrup – this will balance sweetness. nUse real prosecco to enhance the flavours. 2020 trend: For the flavour of 2020, based on my experience at the moment
– consumers are really loving gin right now as well as light summer floral and fruity flavours such as elderflower and raspberry. Aside from the flavour, 2020 has become all about how you present the cocktails so visual is important!
Mocktails: When it comes to mocktails, I’d like to keep it simple with my best mocktail is Citrus 94 that’s made with Seedlip Spice 94, fresh grapefruit juice, ginger and lemongrass cordial, lime juice and ginger ale. Sometimes keeping it simple is the way to go and our Aster customers love it!