The American cocktail has experienced a renaissance in recent years, but alcoholic drinks are far from the only popular libations finding their “place in the sun.” As the weather warms, we can expect to see more and more restaurants placing non-alcoholic drinks at the forefront of their drink menus.
The word “mocktail” brings to mind images of too-sweet Shirley Temples served as an alcohol replacement for those unable to imbibe. Yesterday’s “mocktail” has become today’s “Inebriain’t”: far from an afterthought, these are complex and flavorful drink concoctions utilizing everything from botanical syrups and specialty waters to whipped egg whites and yogurt, taking front position on drink menus as sought-after offerings.
In our own Culinary Center, we have found ourselves experimenting with an upcoming line of drinking vinegars from Nature’s Intent, Sparkling Honey Water from Bella Beez and reduced sugar fruit juices from Edit De-Sugared 100% Fruit Juice, using these products as a base for non-alcoholic drinks with multidimensional flavor profiles. As more and more consumers embrace the teetotalling lifestyle – whether for religious, health or other personal reasons – restaurants must be ready to provide flavorful and inspiring drinks that excite the senses of patrons without alcohol.
Just as restaurants must be ready to adopt non-alcoholic drinks on their menus, our corporate clients must consider the move toward this trend as well. With the removal of alcohol, the other ingredients in non-alcoholic drinks should become more complex and incorporate new flavor combinations. Mixologists will be on the lookout for syrups utilizing herbs and other botanicals, fermented kombuchas, specialty juices, aromatic teas and more to take their non-alcoholic libations to the next level of flavor. We encourage our clients to think “outside the cocktail shaker” and begin providing restaurants and mixologists with the products that will make these drinks a focal point on their menus.
It’s all about flavor that sells. This year’s non-alcoholic drinks are pushing the envelope of what a “mocktail” used to be and introducing us to a world of drinks that will sell to the most sophisticated palates – spirits not required.
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