With the sun finally showing its face and the long winter in lockdown behind us there is a strong desire for fun outdoor-friendly drinks. The trick is to have a range on hand that won’t leave your bar staff buried under a mountain of orders that each require ten minutes of shaking, straining or muddling.
We’ve put together a list of summery outdoor drink ideas which are both on-trend and simple to prepare.
Flavoured Gins and Mixers
Gin is still in midst of an impressive boom, despite slightly slowing in 2020. Gin producers have continued to innovate with a diverse range of flavours and styles. We expect that when venues are fully open once again, customers will be reaching for their favourite juniper-based tipple. Adding a flavoured gin to your G & T range, such as the Slingsby Marmalade Gin or Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon, can make the familiar beverage a little bit special without increasing preparation time. You can go a little further with a garnish that complements the flavour and adds a fun visual element.
Celebration is in the air right now. With little opportunity or reason to celebrate during the past 12 months, customers will be drawn to drinks that feel a little bit special. By offering a good range of sparkling wines by the glass, you can draw them towards drinks that are slightly more premium and which are easy to prepare and present. A Pink Prosecco is a step up from classic prosecco as it attracts a slightly higher retail price and, with a pretty pink splash of colour, is eminently Instagrammble and likely to prompt interest from those around the table.
Low and No Alcohol Cider
An interesting outcome of the last year’s lengthy lockdown has been an acceleration growth of alcohol-free products. According to data from Proof, 1 in 3 are cutting back on their alcohol consumption and with the 25-44 age group leading the charge.
The key to winning the low and no alcohol category is offering a range that helps customers captures the feeling of a day session or night out without the hangover. For a low touch, alcohol-free serve that’s perfect for al fresco drinking you can’t go past a cider like Magners Zero. On ice or in a frosty bottle, it’s refreshing and laid back and ideal for al fresco drinking in the sun.
Spritz with a Twist
Aperol Spritz, traditionally called Spritz Veneziano, is synonymous with summer. Known for its simple 3-2-1 recipe and bright colour, it’s become a staple of most cocktail menus. But as popular as it has become in recent years, there’s a chance of a ‘been there done that’ drop off in sales. To refresh the Spritz concept, while keeping it simple and recognisable for die-hard fans, try swapping out the apéritif for something new. Something like Lillet Blanc, a French example with a subtle and floral profile.
You could try substituting in Crodino, for an alcohol-free alternative that retains all the bitter-sweet botanicals of the original while encouraging non-alcohol drinkers to trade up from a boring old soda and lime.