Cocktails: Flights of Fancy

The idea of the “flight” – a sampling of three or four drinks that share a common theme – is no longer reserved as only a way to introduce your patrons to a fantastic selection of wines. Cocktail flights have become a big hit today, too, allowing customers to try several of your specialties drinks, all for a markup that’s higher than one might pay for just one cocktail – but also for a price that’s lower than what one would have to spend on three or four (while also being a lot easier on the liver!) While wine flights might consist of a roundup of varieties based on specific grapes or regions, where cocktail flight categories are concerned, the human imagination is really the only limit. New York City’s Flatiron Lounge, one of the first bars to offer high-end cocktails, for example, takes the lead when it comes to cocktail flight offerings, with a seasonally changing menu that includes everything from the “Flight Back in Time” to the tropical and fruity “Flight to Hawaii.”

Decisions, Decisions

For a little bit of inspiration and some great cocktail flight ideas, check out the round-up that New York Magazine did recently, featuring cocktail flights offered at a number of cocktail bars. Most, including a flight of bitters available at Amor y Amargo in New York City’s East Village, go for between $12 and $16, but chartreuse flights at Pouring Ribbons (walking distance from Amor y Amargo) sell for as much as $200 apiece! Cocktails referred to as “punch” are of course part of an extremely flexible category that is described in the New York Magazine article as well. One Manhattan bar, the Dead Rabbit, offers a liquid tour back in time in order to break the learning down into easy, digestible sips. Keeping this same educational component of any great bar flight program in mind, Tooker Alley in Brooklyn also has the right idea, offering a flight that takes patrons back through the history of the martini, starting with its origins in the 1860s.

With the vast number of liquors, twists, juices, and other mixers already in existence – as well as all of the combinations still just waiting to be discovered (and those that are in danger of fading into the past, just waiting to be revived) – cocktail flights are the perfect attention-grabbing way of welcoming patrons. Why wait? Put together your cocktail flight program, get the word out, and introduce potential patrons to their new favorite cocktails (and new favorite place) tonight!

Josh Saunders