If you’re a restaurant that serves an international food, you probably also sell a large amount of one traditional drink. But what do you offer for the people who want a drink from your country, but who are tired of the same old thing? You really need to broaden your drinks menu to keep them coming back. We’ve all heard that variety is the spice of life, and today’s post serves up a good helping of hot and fresh variety for your restaurant. To serve you, I’ve compiled a list of six lesser-known cocktail drinks from around the world.
If you want to offer your guests an alternative to Côtes du Rhône, try offering them Kir Royale. Kir is made with crème de cassis, a liqueur that comes from blackcurrants. If you stock high-quality bottles, it can also be served on its own as an after-dinner drink, and it makes a tasty pairing with chocolate truffles.
Kir Royale (courtesy of Greatist)
6 oz. champagne
½ shot of crème de cassis
1 lemon twist for garnish
Pour the crème de cassis into the bottom of a champagne glass, then add the champagne. Garnish with the lemon twist. Voila!
Japanese food is delicious and so is sake. Sometimes though, your guests want a break from sake—or if you aren’t a high-end Japanese restaurant, your sake collection might not quite be up to snuff. Try offering your guests a simple Saketini for a change of pace.
Saketini (courtesy of Snooth)
2 oz. gin or vodka
1 oz. Sake
Olive, lemon twist, or shisho leaf for garnish
Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Stir, then strain into a glass. Garnish with an olive or a lemon twist, or try making a shisho-leaf boat.
The typical offering for Mexican food is, of course, margaritas. But did you know that Mexicans drink the Paloma more often than they drink margaritas? Try mixing up your menu with this delicious grapefruit-y drink.
Paloma (courtesy of Greatist)
1 shot white tequila
½ shot lime juice
Pinch of salt
4 shots grapefruit soda
Combine tequila, lime juice, and salt in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds and then pour the grapefruit soda over the top. Pour into a glass and serve straight up or on the rocks.
Of course you have ouzo at your restaurant. And ouzo is delicious. I mean, who doesn’t love the scent and taste of licorice? Well, actually… a few people. For your guests who number among the licorice-averse, try offering them a taste of something new with the Caipi-Taxa.
Caipi-Taxa is a sweeter drink made with Metaxa, a brandy aged with Muscato and herbs, including roses. If you can’t find Metaxa, you can always use brandy in a pinch.
Caipi-Taxa (courtesy of Cocktails of the World)
½ shot Metaxa (or brandy)
1 T sugar
1 lime, wedged
1 black olive
1 strawberry, sliced
2 pineapple cubes
Muddle the lime with sugar and add fruit. Fill with crushed ice, add Metaxa, stir and serve. If you want to make this drink really exciting, you can add some Metaxa to the top and set it alight. Opa!
As an Italian restaurant, you certainly serve great wines. However, when your guests aren’t in the mood for a Barbera, you need something else to offer them. Negroni is always an easy sale for the summer, but try adding even more variety to your menu with the Aperol Spritz, an apéritif made with Aperol, Campari’s less alcoholic and lighter-colored cousin.
Aperol Spritz (courtesy of Cellar Tours)
2 parts Aperol
2 parts Prosecco
8 parts seltzer
Orange wheel for garnish
Fill a red-wine glass with ice, then add Aperol and Prosecco. Top with seltzer and garnish before serving. Salute!
Chai and mango lassi are great, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes your guests want something alcoholic with their dinner. Wine is always an easy choice, but if you want to tempt their palates, try offering them Diwan-e-khas, a cocktail made with khus syrup, also known as vetiver. Khus syrup is sweet and is a sugared form of khus oil (which comes from khus grass, duh).
Diwan-e-khas (courtesy of Cocktails of the World)
3 oz. peach schnapps
3 oz. gin
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. coconut water
1 dash khus syrup
Orange slice and pineapple wedge for garnish
Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled glass and garnish.
The main thing to remember is to always offer options for your guests. When offering drinks, a full and varied selection makes it hard for them to say no. Of course, for your guests who cannot drink alcohol for some reason, most of these drinks can also be made without alcohol, unlike their more traditional counterparts. Try offering one of these this week and see how your sales do. Once you add them to your menu, let me know what sold well and what techniques worked for you, I’d love to hear!
- Why Your Wine Menu Is Scaring Your Guests - February 27, 2015
- How to Host a Better Restaurant Week and Get More Customers - February 23, 2015
- Choosing Your Restaurant Wine Glass – 3 Approaches - February 16, 2015