In the dark, dark night there was a dark, dark street. On the dark, dark street there was a warm and friendly bar serving a whole range of rich dark drinks to keep the Autumn chill at bay.
As the days continue to get colder, and the nights get darker, customers are looking for something heavier with a richer flavour profile in contrast to the light fresh drinks of summer. Like swapping the sandals and shorts for thick socks and cosy knits, now is the perfect time to transition your drinks list from summer to winter with some deliciously dark drinks.
In this article, we dive into some of our favourite full bodied and richly flavoured drinks to warm up your customers on even the coldest winter days.
In addition to the essential single malt scotch that that every bar should have, we’ve picked a few Scotch whiskies that offer something a little different:
Grant’s Family Reserve is a Triple Wood Blended Scotch that is aged in 3 different barrels to give it its distinct flavour: Virgin Oak for spicy robustness, American Oak for subtle vanilla smoothness and Bourbon refill for brown sugar sweetness. This is a great one for whisky enthusiasts or for those new to this category with its smooth, rich, mellow taste.
Chivas Regal 12-Year-Old is also Triple Blended and is aged for a minimum of 12 years. Iconic Speyside flavours lie at the core of this signature blend and the result has notes of crisp orchard fruits, wild heather, and sweet honey. This works beautifully in a classic whisky highball cocktail!
Finally, and perhaps a little unexpectedly, we have Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth, with flavour notes of brown sugar, tropical fruits, and caramel. This unique Scotch whisky is finished in ex-Caribbean rum casks for up to 6 months to give it that smooth finish. It could be a great way to entice rum drinkers over to the whisky side. Something like an Old Fashioned would beautifully bring out the vanilla notes from the oak casks.
Mount Gay and their range of rums are at the top of our lists for a toasty tipple on a cold night. Eclipse Barbados Golden Rum, from their core collection, is distilled in traditional copper pots and column stills, then matured for 2 years in American whiskey casks. The result is a crisp and aromatic rum with distinct notes vanilla and banana and underlying notes of caramel, spice and summer fruits. Unlike some spiced and flavoured rum, Mount Gay is perhaps best enjoyed sipped straight, preferably by a roaring fire. Makes you feel warm already, doesn’t it?
We’ve seen an increased demand for Cognac in recent years. Unlike other brandies, the name Cognac is protected under French law and must meet 3 requirements: made from specific grape varieties, twice distilled in copper pots, and aged in oak barrels for two years minimum.
Courvoisier is perhaps the first name that springs to mind from the cognac category Their VSOP Fine Cognac has notes of peach, toasted almonds and jasmine and is a perfect balance between Fins Bois, Grande and Petite Champagne. It makes for some excellent, high margin cocktail serves that appeal to Cognac consumers and those who might not have thought to try it before.
Another notable name in Cognac is Remy Martin and their 1738 Accord Royal; a distinctive cognac with tasting notes of plum and fig marmalade. This year is the 100th anniversary of the classic Remy Martin Sidecar cocktail, which provides yet another opportunity to capitalise on cognac! To serve: 30ml Remy Martin 1738, 20ml Cointreau, 15ml Lime Juice, shake and strain into a coupe.
Summer calls for refreshing light beers such as lager. But winter is for those warming, well-rounded beers such as ales or stouts.
Dark Star Hophead is just that: full-bodied and full of flavour, yet still delivers that feeling of refreshment consumers crave in a beer. It makes for a hearty serve that will delight customers throughout the winter months.
Innis & Gunn The Original isn’t a dark beer but it is certainly one for winter! Matured in Single Malt Whisky casks, the result is a unique Scottish Golden Beer that is velvety with a delicate finish. It's incredibly smooth and deep in flavour with hints of vanilla, toffee and oak - this is a beer to be savoured!
When customers are seeking drinks to keep the Autumn chill at bay on a dark, dark night, these dark drinks can enable you to be the warm and cosy bar that satisfies their needs.