Drink menu

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Is There Demand for Non-alcohol?

As the Holidays Approach, is There Demand for Non-alcohol?

by David Klemt

Friends toasting with pink drinks

There’s no denying that non-alcohol is a growing beverage category, but does the data support the hype and operator consideration?

A report by behavioral research firm Veylinx offers compelling insight into non-alcohol and consumers.

By now, there’s really no excuse for failing to give non-alc serious consideration. When planning menus, operators should treat non-alc as much more than an afterthought.

Admitting fully that I’m repeating myself, giving alcohol-free beverages the same attention as their full-proof counterparts is crucial. Doing so is smart business; non-alc is capable of driving traffic and revenue.

And then there’s the guest experience element of the non-alc equation. Hospitality is about service, about ensuring every guest is comfortable. Giving guests who are abstaining from alcohol consumption a different experience than others isn’t hospitality—it’s alienation. Not only is that the antithesis of hospitality, it’s bad business.

Reviewing Veylinx data shows that non-alc is worthy of operators’ time and consideration. In my opinion, it’s even more important that non-alc menus and offerings be dialed in now. After all, the end-of-year holidays on our doorsteps.

The infamous Busiest Bar Night of the Year is nearly here. From November 23 through New Year’s Eve, people will be meeting up with family and friends. Many will also be seeking an escape from the stress of those gathering and the holidays.

Non-alcohol by the Numbers

One of the most important points made by Veylinx is this: Abstinence from alcohol isn’t limited to “social media” events like Dry January and Sober October.

Rather, consumers are choosing to abstain from alcohol throughout the year for myriad reasons. Specifically, Veylinx data reveals that more than 75 percent of Americans have abstained from alcohol consumption at some point for at least one moment.

Further, 46 percent of Americans plan to reduce their consumption of alcohol “right now.” As in, the holidays may be upon us but they’re actively working on a plan to drink less, not more.

Two major factors motivating this behavioral change are mental well-being and physical health. In service of those factors, more than half of LDA drinkers in America plan to replace beverage alcohol with non-alc beverages.

Interestingly, Veylinx finds that these consumers will pay more for non-alc alternatives in comparison to the general population.

Drilling down further, this shift in consumer behavior appears to be driven by a handful of consumer types:

  • 21- to 35-year-old consumers;
  • “light” drinkers; and
  • consumers who have set aside alcohol consumption for one month or more.

Speaking of the first group, demand for RTDs is 48 percent greater in comparison to those aged 35 or older. Add CBD to RTD and the demand among the 21 to 35 cohort grows by 18 percent.

However, not all non-alc growth comes from the 21-to-35 group. Non-alc beverages with mood boosters see an increase in demand from the 35-plus group of 29 percent.

In short, if an operator is ignoring the non-alc consumer, they’re harming their own business and reputation. Alcohol-free RTDs, cocktails, beer, and wine are growing.

Savvy operators will leverage that growth.

Image: Helena Yankovska via Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Are You Rewarding Voters Today?

Are You Rewarding Voters Today?

by David Klemt

"I Voted" stickers on a white background

Voting is one of the hallmarks of democracy, a right and privilege so crucial that one can’t overstate or exaggerate the value and importance.

It is, therefore, supremely unfortunate that access to this right has become so acrimoniously political. Of course voting relates to politics—that’s a given. That doesn’t mean the act itself should be disingenuously politicized for twisted means.

For example, far too many people have grown convinced that their vote means nothing. Further, it’s an outrage that voting is made so difficult for so many who know voting matters.

So important is this fundamental right, there are three amendments to the US Constitution protecting it specifically: the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-sixth.

Before going further, I’m not this passionate in support of only those who vote “my way.” I want every American of voting age to have easy access to cast their ballot. Equally as important to me, I want every American to feel like their vote means something.

Of course, that also means accepting results we don’t like. We don’t always get our way in a democracy, after all.

This is all to say the following: Operators can play a role in elections. A simple-yet-important role.

Encourage Voters

I’m not the first to say it: Restaurants and bars are the cornerstones of their communities.

Back in June, I expressed the role our industry plays across the country and globe: “Restaurants and bars are pillars, cornerstones of the communities they serve. These are businesses that welcome people in, treat them like family. They’re there for them as they move through their lives. People who were seemingly at odds with another routinely found common ground over a bite and a sip. More often than not, that’s still the case.”

I still believe this, and that’s why I believe operators can play a role on this Election Day, and those in the future. The role is simple but powerful: Encourage your community to get out there and vote.

Now, one clear way to motivate your community to get out there today is to reward those wearing “I Voted” stickers when they visit your restaurant or bar. It’s commonplace now for operators to offer voters food and drink discounts, free menu items, or other perks on Election Day.

Restaurants and bars around the country routinely execute this type of promotion. From free sides and snacks to discounts on entrees and drinks, operators throughout the US find ways to encourage voting.

Proceed with Caution

Just keep something in mind: Legal scholars say that when federal candidates are on the ballot, such promotions are illegal.

The interpretation of a particular federal statute makes it illegal to pay people to vote. “Paying” includes providing something of value in exchange for voting, such as food or a drink.

One workaround is to ensure anyone who enters your business can participate in your promotion. No “I Voted” sticker? No problem. A guest says they haven’t voted? Not a disqualification.

Another solution is to simply encourage your social media followers to vote and come by for a visit. No reward, necessarily, just encouragement to exercise their right.

In other words, be the supporter and motivator your community needs. And be careful about any promotions you may be offering today.

Image: Element5 Digital on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: November 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: November 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you hone your culinary, cocktail, and leadership skills to dial in your menus and operations.

To review October’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel: A Cookbook

The next time you visit New Orleans, plan to dine at least once at the James Beard Award-winning Shaya. I’ve had the opportunity to do so and the experience was stunning. Of course, you’ll also want to check out Domenica and Pizza Domenica while in NOLA. To give you an idea of what to expect, pick up the Shaya cookbook.

Chef Alon Shaya’s personal journey through cooking is truly unique, embracing Israeli, Italian, and American Southern cuisines. Shaya tells Chef-operator Shaya’s moving story and more than 100 incredible recipes. Pick it up at Amazon.

Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans

After moving to New Orleans and working in fine dining, Chef Mason Hereford opened his own restaurant and put his stamp on the scene: Turkey and the Wolf. Both the restaurant and this cookbook focus on creative and enticing takes on Southern cooking.

Fancy deviled-egg tostadas? Fried bologna sandwiches absolutely heaving with potato chips? How about purposely burnt tomato casserole? Well, you’ll find these recipes and 92 others in this book, along with photographs and illustrations. This is sure to get you salivating and get your creative wheels turning. Grab Turkey and the Wolf here on Amazon.

Last Call at Coogan’s: The Life and Death of a Neighborhood Bar

As those of us in the industry know, restaurants and bars are the cornerstones of the communities they serve. Last Call at Coogan’s is the true tale of a neighborhood bar that, unfortunately, closed its doors for good during the pandemic after more than 30 years in operation.

From Amazon: “This book touches on many serious issues facing the country today: race relations, policing, gentrification, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Along the way, readers will meet the bar’s owners and an array of its most colorful regulars.” Purchase here via Amazon.

Spiritual Coffee

Bar co-founder, bartender, brand ambassador, and author Martin Hudak’s informative and exciting cocktail book is available now for purchase. Hudak is one of the brilliant minds behind Sydney destinations Maybe Sammy and Sammy Junior. Also, he’s a brand ambassador for Mr. Black, the ridiculously tasty coffee liqueur.

Spiritual Coffee focuses on coffee cocktails, a passion of Hudak’s. However, you’ll get more than recipes when you purchase this entertaining book. In these pages you’ll also find a wealth of coffee history, knowledge, and stories. Buy here!

The Future Is Analog: How to Create a More Human World

This book, from award-winning author David Sax, asks poignant culture questions about our rush toward a digital world, an undertaking that was supercharged during the pandemic.

“Is our future inevitably digital? Can we reject the downsides of digital technology without rejecting change?” Sax asks. “Can we innovate not for the sake of productivity but for the good of our social and cultural lives? Can we build a future that serves us as humans, first and foremost?” Purchase here via Amazon.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Nov. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: November 2022

by David Klemt

Stay Weird neon sign with purple background

Want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Then commit to keeping it weird.

Several “holidays” are set against every date on the calendar, and November is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream (Thanksgiving, anyone?) to “weird.”

Pay attention to the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. And this month’s list in no way includes every odd holiday.

Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

For October’s list, click here.

November 4: National Candy Day

So, you would think we’d celebrate National Candy Day on Halloween, what with all the trick or treating. But no, we celebrate candy the first week of November.

This could be an excellent day to move any candy-themed menu items that may have somehow survived your Halloween programming. Or, hey, lean into it and garnish a number of cocktails with candy.

November 6: National Nachos Day

I know, I know—nachos aren’t weird. No, they’re one of the most fantastic foods on the planet. In fact, one could argue they’re among the culinary pinnacles of human achievement.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get a little weird and creative with nachos. Think outside the box (or platter), get with your back-of-house team, and come up with a unique nacho plating or two.

November 8: National Tongue Twister Day

There are a few ways to approach this holiday: create an LTO menu with tongue-twister descriptions; give menu items tongue-twister names; theme some drinks to well-known tongue twisters; or hold a tongue twister contest. Here’s one to get you started:

“Betty Botter bought some butter / But she said the butter’s bitter / If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter / But a bit of better butter will make my batter better / So ‘twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.” Good luck.

November 12: National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day

I’m including this because I like how oddly specific this holiday is. No thanks to the humble anchovy, apparently!

November 15: National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

Okay, so I’m not sure I’d actually call this holiday Clean Out Your Fridge Day. Instead, consider creating and adding a specific promotion to your programming repertoire.

For example, if you’re a wine bar, consider using this day to move open but unfinished bottles of still and sparkling wine before they oxidize or go flat. I’m not a fan of operators discounting menu items but in this case, doing so is better than the alternative. This can be done once per week, twice per month, once per month, etc.

November 17: Use Less Stuff Day

This is an excellent holiday to commit to a couple different operational changes. One, do whatever is practical to reduce the waste your restaurant, bar, nightclub, or hotel generates. Two, consider reviewing your menu and simplifying where you can.

November 20: National Absurdity Day

I mean…does any day scream “WEIRD HOLIDAY!” more than National Absurdity Day? The sky’s the limit here: get as weird, wacky, and creative as you can in a way that’s authentic to your brand and market.

November 24: Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day

Have a talented team? Boast a group of talented regulars? Encourage them to show off their unique skills talent show style, offering prizes and capturing your event via social media.

November 25: Blasé Day

The holiday season is stressful. It’s go, go, go, family, family, family, friends friends, friends, for several weeks. So, create a “lazy” promotion that provides your guests with a calm escape from their holiday stress. Be the oasis they need as the year closes out.

November 30: National Mason Jar Day

Ah, the mason jar. Its wide mouth and fit in most people’s hands is both rustic and comforting. They’re also perfect for a wide array of garnishes. In fact, consider serving over-the-top Bloody Maries in your mason jars…or moonshine cocktails…or beer cocktails… just great cocktails.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

F&B in Canada: Top Menu Items

F&B in Canada: Top Menu Items

by David Klemt

Closeup of hands holding burger

Those wondering what food and beverage menu items are performing best among consumers throughout Canada need wonder no more.

And why is that? Well, Restaurants Canada has the answers, revealing the top ten food and top ten beverage items.

Further, the organization compares each item’s performance. In this instance, Restaurants Canada analyses the percentage of orders that contained each food or beverage item from January to April 2022 in comparison to 2019.

These insights (and many more) are available in Restaurants Canada’s 2022 Foodservice Facts report. In fact, you can find our reviews of several of the restaurant advocacy group’s report topics via the links below:

For your own copy of this year’s Foodservice Facts report, click here.

Top 10 Canadian Drink Menu Trends

As you’ll see below, coffee is outperforming nearly every other beverage category. Specifically, Hot coffee is at the top, while Iced or frozen coffee is ranked third.

Unsurprisingly, Carbonated soft drinks / Pop / Soda split the two coffee categories. According to Restaurants Canada, the Carbonated soft drink category can credit its performance in large part to QSRs.

  1. Milk: 1.8% (2019) to 1.8% (2022)
  2. Iced tea: 2.9% (2019) to 1.6% (2022)
  3. Milkshakes / Smoothies: 2.1% (2019) to 2.0% (2022)
  4. Fruit juice: 3.8% (2019) to 3.0% (2022)
  5. Hot tea: 5.5% (2019) to 4.5% (2022)
  6. Alcohol beverages: 5.1% (2019) to 5.7% (2022)
  7. Water: 6.6% (2019) to 5.0% (2022)
  8. Iced or frozen coffee: 5.3% (2019) to 7.5% (2022)
  9. Carbonated soft drinks / Pop / Soda: 19.7% (2019) to 20.2% (2022)
  10. Hot coffee: 40.9% (2019) to 41.9% (2022)

Compellingly, Alcohol beverage performance in restaurants fluctuated by age group between 2021 and 2022. Alcohol order shares in restaurants, per Restaurants Canada:

  • Legal drinking Age (LDA) to 34: 46% (2021) to 43% (2022)
  • 35 to 49: 17% (2021) to 21% (2022)
  • 50-plus: 37% (2021) to 36% (2022)

Alcohol order shares in bars, according to Restaurants Canada:

  • LDA to 34: 35% (2021) to 35% (2022)
  • 35 to 49: 17% (2021) to 19% (2022)
  • 50-plus: 49% (2021) to 47% (2022)

Overall, the 35 to 49 age group appears to be consuming less alcohol in bars and restaurants in comparison to the LDA to 34 and 50-plus cohorts.

Top 10 Canadian Food Menu Trends

As Restaurants Canada notes, the Sandwich / Sub category has grown in 2022. Interestingly, the category just below it in growth, Chicken, is partially responsible for boosting Sandwich / Sub performance.

As far as entrees or “main attractions,” the Burger category remains at the top, beating out Breakfast, Sandwich / Sub, Chicken, and Pizza menu items.

  1. Cake / Squares / Muffins: 3.7% (2019) to 3.3% (2022)
  2. Salad: 4.3% (2019) to 3.8% (2022)
  3. Donuts / Beignets: 3.0% (2019) to 3.8% (2022)
  4. Breads: 4.3% (2019) to 3.4% (2022)
  5. Pizza / Panzerotti / Calzone: 4.1% (2019) to 4.3% (2022)
  6. Chicken: 7.6% (2019) to 8.5% (2022)
  7. Sandwich / Sub: 8.0% (2019) to 8.5% (2022)
  8. Breakfast: 10.8% (2019) to 11.4% (2022)
  9. Burger: 9.0% (2019) to 10.9% (2022)
  10. French fries / Potato / Sweet potato / Onion rings: 15.0% (2019) to 16.1% (2022)

Image: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Learn to Homebrew Day Returns on Nov. 5

Learn to Homebrew Day Returns on November 5

by David Klemt

Snifter of beer on driftwood at beach

On Saturday, November 5, the American Homebrewers Association and brewing and fermenting fans will celebrate the 24th annual Learn to Homebrew Day.

If you’re not familiar with this holiday, it’s not difficult to understand or participate. As the name implies, Learn to Homebrew Day is about learning how to brew beer at home. More accurately, it’s about learning the science and process of brewing beer yourself.

Participation is simple: All participants follow the same recipe, which the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) provides. This year, the recipe will (perhaps “should” is more apt, depending on your ability to follow instructions) produce one gallon of Hoppy Amber Ale.

According to Northwest Beer Guide, this ale sends Amber into the IPA space and is a great brew for experts and neophytes alike.

Learn to Brew

Established in 1999, Learn to Homebrew Day isn’t difficult in terms of taking part. In fact, pledging to participate also gets you $5 off an annual AHA membership.

One perk that caught my eye is access to a database of myriad homebrew recipes, including ciders and meads.

For this year’s holiday, the AHA provides the recipe. Additionally, the association provides several resources to help homebrewers, inluding:

  • tutorials, such as “All-Grain (Batch Sparge) Homebrewing” and “All-Grain (Brew in a Bag) Homebrewing.”
  • lists of must-have and nice-to-have brewing equipment;
  • a search engine to help participants find necessary equipment in their area; and
  • a link to the Facebook page for Grainfather, a manufacturer of top-quality, technologically enhanced smart homebrew equipment.

Speaking of social media, make sure to follow the AHA on Instagram ahead of November 5.

Interestingly, while the AHA has “American” in its name, there are international participants. According to the AHA website:

  • there are, as of October 23, 147 people pledging to participate;
  • the 147 participants are from nine countries;
  • participants span 36 states and territories;
  • and participants have pledge to brew 925 gallons.

Why Participate

So, let’s say you’ve never brewed your own beer at home. “Why,” you may be asking yourself, “should I take part in Learn to Homebrew Day this year?”

One good reason is that if you’re reading this, you likely play a role in the food and beverage. Beer, of course, is a huge part of the F&B world. And there’s no arguing that craft beer and microbrews are very important to many restaurants and bars.

Gaining the ability to understand and speak intelligently about the products you sell is of great benefit to all F&B and hospitality professionals. Today’s guest knows much more than they ever have before. Many want to engage the front-of-house team members who serve them about what they’re consuming.

If you’re an operator or leader of the membership team—particularly of a venue with a serious focus on beer—encourage your teams to take part. There’s no downside to gaining knowledge of and experience with the products they serve to guests.

Another great reason to participate? It’s going to be fun. That may seem like a shallow or flippant reason. But think about this: How many stories of craft brewers, craft breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms start with trying out homebrewing?

Learn to Homebrew Day may just spark your next great idea. That idea may be kicking off your microbrewery or brewpub ownership adventure.

If you love (or even just like) beer, follow this link to learn more about Learn to Homebrew Day. Happy brewing!

Image: by George Cox on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Go Clean this International G&T Day

Go Clean this International G&T Day

by David Klemt

CleanCo Clean G bottle

Today we raise a glass to a centuries-old spirit and a classic cocktail that historians can trace back to at least the mid-1800s.

In other words, happy International Gin & Tonic Day!

Now, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that you and your bar team probably have your G&T builds down. It’s one of—if not the—most well-known highballs in existence.

So, no, I’m not going to write an article about how to make a G&T. It’s elegant, it’s simple, and bar professionals shouldn’t be behind the stick if they can’t make at least a decent one.

Instead, I want to introduce you to a non-alcohol spirits brand you should know: CleanCo. As an alcohol-free brand, CleanCo is ideal for Sober October and beyond.

If you already know CleanCo, cheers! But if this is you’re first time getting to know the brand, here’s what you need to know.

About CleanCo

Spencer Matthews founded CleanCo in 2018. At just a few years old, this isn’t a brand-new company.

However, anyone who knows the beverage industry knows it takes time for young brands to fight through the noise and be heard. Suffice to say, CleanCo is making themselves known in 2022.

Before starting the alcohol alternative brand, Matthews “lived in a cycle of drinking excessively for most” of his twenties. In fact, under the About section on the CleanCo website, Matthews states he sought out jobs that encouraged his hard-drinking lifestyle. That changed before the arrival of his first child. Matthews decided to “go clean” and says it changed his life.

However, Matthews doesn’t expect others to abstain from alcohol consumption completely. That is, of course, a personal choice. Rather, Matthews seeks to provide an alternative that people will actually want to drink.

Whether a guest is choosing to not consume alcohol for a round, an evening, a week, a month, or for the foreseeable future, CleanCo’s mission is to help deliver a seamless drinking experience without the alcohol.

Along with Clean G, CleanCo’s gin alternative, the brand offers rum, vodka, and tequila expressions that are 0.5-percent ABV or lower.

Clean G&T

Just like the original classic this non-alcohol-cocktail mimics, the Clean G&T is simple to make.

In fact, the ratio of Clean G gin alternative to tonic is same as its full-alcohol counterpart.

  • 2 oz. Clean G
  • 4 oz. Tonic
  • Two lime slices or wheels to garnish

To build, add Clean G and tonic to a tall glass. Next, add ice along with one lime slice or wheel to layer the garnish throughout the length of the drink. Finally, place the other lime slice or wheel on top, and serve.

Image: CleanCo

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Delicious ‘Mistake’ Causing an Uproar

The Delicious ‘Mistake’ Causing an Uproar

by David Klemt

Overhead shot of hand holding cocktail

Are you hearing your bar team or fellow bartenders debating Negroni specs or catching them rolling their eyes when a guest orders a particular variant?

Well, there’s a good reason. For some reason, the Negroni Sbagliato is getting roasted across social media.

 

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Perhaps it’s for the way it’s apparently being ordered. If the memes are anything to go by—a portion of a sentence I can’t believe I just typed—guests are asking for, “A Negroni Sbagliato, with Prosecco.”

It’s possible that some bartenders are bristling at the “with Prosecco” portion of the order. A Sbagliato, which translates to “mistake,” “bungled,” or “incorrect” from Italian, is a gin-less Negroni. As you may already know or are putting together by now, sparkling wine stands in for the gin.

There’s also another possibility as well: some bartenders can’t stand when a cocktail suddenly explodes in popularity and it’s all they seem to make for weeks on end.

Of course, it could just be that some bartenders don’t feel that the drink is worthy of the hive-mind ordering frenzy. I’ve seen more than one comment on social media posts (again, I can’t believe that’s a relevant method of providing context, but here we are) pointing out that there’s nothing groundbreaking about the Sbagliato.

“All that’s happening is gin being swapped out for sparkling wine,” is a common refrain. It’s a good point.

If the phrase, “No Negroni without Campari,’ holds true, how can a Negroni be a Negroni without gin?

Guest Experience

So, that’s the gist of this “scandal” or “outrage.” Really, it just seems like a bit of fun from the bartender and cocktail communities. Why not vent a little spleen at something innocuous if nobody gets hurt?

Unless, of course, the guest experience is being affected negatively. There was a time not long ago during which a number of “serious” cocktail bar teams belittled guests for any number of reasons, and seemed to get away with it.

Didn’t know something about a particular element of ingredient of a drink? Ridicule. Asked for a drink “beneath” the bar team? Outward contempt.

Not great, as you can imagine, for the guest experience, growing a loyal base, and earning repeat visits.

Personally, I have no issue with front-of-house team members rolling their eyes at someone causing problems. Being rude or creepy to team members and/or guests? Difficult guests get what they deserve if they’re mocked, set straight, and kicked out.

But for ordering what they want to drink, well within reason? Sorry, but I don’t feel like that’s worthy of outward scorn. It’s not the spirit of hospitality, and it’s certainly not good for business.

However, I don’t think anyone has addressed the Negroni Sbagliato (non)issue as well as bartender Giuseppe González via Instagram:


If you don’t want to check out the post, even though you should, here’s a relevant snippet:

So I say this with love: Unless they are ordering a Pumpkin Spice Negroni Sbagliato, let it go and look at this human knowing one thing: it’s actually a really cool drink and I’m not mad at it.

Negroni Sbagliato

Remember, one of the keys to the balance that defines the original Negroni is the 1:1:1 ratio. For this riff on the classic, that ratio remains the same—it’s an ingredient change that makes the difference.

As you’ll see below, the Sbagliato recipe calls for Prosecco rather than gin. While the substitution is simple, the change to the cocktail is significant in terms for flavor and mouthfeel.

I’d also say this an fun fall or winter cocktail, so why not put one on your menu?

  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. Sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. Prosecco
  • Orange slice or peel to garnish

First, prepare an Old Fashioned glass with a large ice cube or sphere. Next, add ice, Campari and sweet vermouth to a mixing glass. Stir until well chilled, then strain into the prepared glass. Now, add the Prosecco to the glass and stir once more. Finally, garnish with orange slice or peel.

If you so choose, you can build this drink entirely with Campari portfolio elements. There’s Campari itself, of course. Then there’s Cinzano Vermouth Rosso and Cinzano Prosecco.

Image: Matheus Frade on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Possess this Scary Spirit for Halloween

Possess this Scary Spirit for Halloween

by David Klemt

Harridan Vodka Paranormal Reserve hero

If you truly want to imbue your cocktails and the guest experience with the otherworldly this Halloween, you need this spirit.

In fact, this bottle likely contains the most “spirit” forward spirit one can possess. It’s also one of the rarest. Oh, and it took a rest for 30 days inside the Occult Museum.

On October 13, Harridan Vodka will launch their Paranormal Reserve officially. And if you’re after a true small-batch vodka, you’ll want to keep an eye the Paranormal Reserve countdown timer.

This is your opportunity to create and host a frighteningly unique Halloween LTO promotion.

Conjuring the Halloween Spirit

Does the Occult Museum sound familiar to you? If so, you’re likely a horror film fan or into the supernatural.

For those who don’t know, the Occult Museum was started in 1952 by Ed and Lorraine Warren. The two paranormal investigators collected a vast array of artifacts that they claimed came into contact with evil.

One of these objects is Annabelle, a cursed Raggedy Ann doll. According to lore, the doll is so dangerous it’s kept inside its own glass case. A sign attached to the case reads, “Warning, Positively Do Not Open.”

So, what could possibly be frightening about a Raggedy Ann doll? Well, this one is said to have an interesting “attachment.” That is, a demon in search of a human host that has attached itself to the doll.

To keep the demon from achieving its goal—which it reportedly began pursuing in 1970—Annabelle’s case has been blessed. The case has inscriptions of the Lord’s Prayer and Saint Michael’s Prayer. Also, it’s said that Ed Warren would recite a binding prayer over the case from time to time to ensure the demon couldn’t escape.

Supposedly, Annabelle nearly killed a priest who mocked it when he visited the Occult Museum to scrutinize the Warren’s claims of its demonic possession.

This story and more are told in The Conjuring movie series. In particular, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, and Annabelle Comes Home. Given that it’s October, it’s the perfect time to watch the first installment and doll-focused movies of The Conjuring universe.

In fact, this would be the month to design a promotion around The Conjuring watch parties with themed LTO cocktails.

A Frightful Rest

Okay, so I can already hear some of you asking what this has to do with Harridan Vodka. Well, calm down—I’m getting to it.

The Warren Occult Museum, located in Monroe, Connecticut, closed to the public in 2019. In other words, if you didn’t get to visit prior to its closure, you’ll most likely never have the chance to see Annabelle or the other occult artifacts contained within.

But you can purchase a bottle of 44-percent ABV vodka that rested for 30 days inside the Occult Museum: Harridan Vodka Paranormal Reserve.

Just 666 bottles are available, and 665 took their 30-day slumber right next to Annabelle. These bottles will retail for $199 on Thursday, October 13.

 

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Obviously, that leaves one bottle we need to address. Bottle number 666 was rested inside Annabelle’s case. And while the other 665 bottles are housed inside black Ouija-themed boxes, number 666 is contained within a glass case similar to Annabelle’s.

Of course, this unique bottle comes with an appropriately otherworldly price tag: $13,000. And, hey, the person who makes this bank-balance-slashing purchase might just be in possession of the world’s only vodka infused with evil.

If you’re one of the few who manage to get their hands on these Occult Museum-rested Harridan Vodka bottles, it’s fair to say you can name your price for the opportunity for guests to buy an ounce.

Happy Halloween, ya filthy animals!

Images: Harridan Vodka

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

7 Days Until Old Fashioned Week!

7 Days Until Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week!

by David Klemt

Old Fashioned cocktail on table

In just seven days operators, their front-of-house teams and guests will have the opportunity to participate in Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week.

Those who choose to join in on the fun will help generate funds for crucial cause. Further, participation means joining forces with some revered heavy hitters in the industry.

For example, Broken Shaker’s Chicago and Miami locations are taking part, as is Cure in New Orleans. Birdie G’s in Los Angeles, the Denver outpost of Death & Co., and Houston’s Julep are also participating. And then there’s LA Jackson from Nashville, the legendary Leyenda in Brooklyn, DC’s Silver Lyan, and Philly’s R&D all joining the cause.

A Great Cause

As stated, this is more than a cocktail promotion. Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week supports an important cause and fantastic organization.

The cause is providing F&B professionals who are struggling with financial assistance, and the aide comes from the Southern Smoke Foundation.

Since 2015, Southern Smoke has been dedicated to raising funds to help individuals in the F&B space. The non-profit organization strives to help our industry peers in need persevere through crises.

From raising funds for the MS Society, establishing the Emergency Relief Fund, and providing free mental healthcare, Southern Smoke consistently proves themselves a trustworthy industry partner. By 2021, Southern Smoke had donated more than $5 million in financial aid to industry workers affected by Covid-19.

Take Part

Elijah Craig, the storied small-batch bourbon and rye producer in the Heaven Hill Distillery portfolio, makes participating simple and fun.

Unsurprisingly, we at KRG Hospitality love an activation and promotion that’s easy to execute and fun for everyone in the building. This year, Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week takes place from October 14 through October 23.

To help raise money for Southern Smoke’s crisis management mission, encourage your bar team and guests to post pictures of their Old Fashioneds to social media. All one has to do is include tag @ElijahCraig and the hashtag #OldFashioned Week. Elijah Craig will take it from there, donating $5 for every post up to $100,000.

I’m confident that over the course of ten days we can all come together and flood social media with 20,000 images of delicious, well-crafted Old Fashioneds.

To learn more about last year’s Old Fashioned week, listen to Bar Hacks episode 52. Our very special guest on this episode is Lynn House, the 2022 Best US Brand Ambassador Spirited Award winner.

Get Creative

Now, I’d normally include the particular drink recipe here but I think—I believe—we all know how to make an Old Fashioned by now. So, I’m going to encourage all participating operators and their bar teams to create a small, signature Old Fashioned LTO menu or Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week.

Also, to get those creative juices flowing, here’s the recipe for the Elijah Craig Rosemary Old Fashioned:

  • Craft rosemary cinnamon syrup by combining 1 cup of water with 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 rosemary sprigs, and 1 medium navel orange in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, add one cup of Demerara sugar and stir until it dissolves. Strain into a clean, sanitized bottle.
  • Combine 2.5 oz. of Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, a half-ounce of housemade rosemary cinnamon syrup, and three dashes of orange bitters in a mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir and strain into rocks glass over a large ice cube, then garnish with a Maraschino cherry on a rosemary-sprig skewer. If you so choose, light the sprig on fire for a moment to generate some rosemary smoke.

Image: CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

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