As summer heats up, consumers are looking forward to the seasonal change of beverage menus. Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits explains this summer’s cocktail trends that are inspiring the on-premise category to create unique and crowd-pleasing drink menus.
“This summer, restaurants are offering fresh and exciting cocktails to their guests that include new staples such as signature spirited lemonades, as well as innovative twists on classic iced teas and craft sodas,” says Bill Edwards, SVP of On-Premise National Accounts for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. “These types of items aren’t just a win for customers; they also spell opportunity for restaurateurs, since consumers are willing to pay a little more for signature cocktails with fresh, premium ingredients.”
Edwards goes on to explain the top summer cocktail menu trends consumers can expect to find at their favorite eateries.
Spirited Rifts on Lemonades and Iced teas
Lemonades and Iced Teas are broadly appealing summer classics that are tailor made for spirited twists and play nicely with a host of spirit categories, including vodka, tequila, mezcal and whiskey to name a few. “We’re seeing them contemporized with fresh herbs, berries and artisan flavored teas to bring a more uniqueness to the summer party.”
Innovative Upgrades to Sangrias
“Light and upscale is the theme here for white wines, sparkling wine and rosé wines.” It’s important to salvage the delicious elements of the drink (fruity, refreshing, and cool) from the tired taste (stale, sweet, unbalanced) and place equal emphasis on fresh ingredients and on thoughtful drink building.
Rosé and “ F’rosé” Cocktails
Summer has typically been rosé’s domain with “Rosé All Day” being the mantra. It’s light and versatile, perfect for long afternoons. But this summer, restaurants take it up a notch with the frozen version – f’rosé. “It’s simple, refreshing and makes for the perfect Instagram photo.”
Bellinis and Fruit Based Sparklers
The Bellini has been a summer favorite ever since its creation in 1948. It’s one of Italy’s most famous cocktails, made with refreshing sparkling white wine and white peach. “This summer, bars are going above and beyond the traditional white peach fruit base and instead substituting with fruits like mango, mixed berries and apple.” Another sparkler is the Aperol Spritz. This wine based cocktail is continuing to gain huge momentum in the U.S. As seen on virtually every cafe table in Italy, it’s a must on any summer menu.
Mules and Ginger Beer
Not all that long ago, ginger wasn’t exactly perceived to be a broadly appealing flavor profile. But cocktails like the Mule and Dark N’ Stormy have shattered that narrow view. “Now we’re seeing virtually every spirit category pairing with a host of different fruit flavor modifiers and ginger beer.”
Whiskey with Fruit Based Smashes
Whiskey tends to be thought of as a classic spirit-forward cocktail, such as the Manhattan or Old Fashion. But whiskey actually has a lighter side and a place on summer menus. “Adding fruit based smashes and different variations to the theme will sure make any cocktail menuhot this summer.”