Drinks

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

WSWA Access LIVE 2024: Product Roundup

A Few of Our Favorite WSWA Access LIVE Things

by David Klemt

Sepulto Mezcal bottle

We attended WSWA’s Access LIVE 2024 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, and found quite a few products we think will pique the interest of restaurant and bar operators.

Agave spirits, perhaps unsurprisingly, seemed to dominate the floor. In particular, tequila was very well represented.

However, we also found notable vodkas, gins, whiskeys, sake, liqueurs, zero-proof beverages, and more. Below, several portfolios and items that really stood out to us.

Cheers!

Portfolio

Deluxe Distillery

This distillery, operating out of Belgium, has some of the most striking packaging I’ve seen in a while. I’m confident in saying that guests scanning a back bar would find Deluxe Distillery‘s bottles intriguing.

More importantly, of course, the liquid is just as outstanding. Deluxe produces three gins under the Blind Tiger label: Piper Cubeba, Imperial Secrets, and barrel-aged Liquid Gold. Their vodka, Mary White, pays homage to a famous bootlegger. And then there’s Yusibi, a honey-based aperitif in a unique bottle.

However, it’s Deluxe’s Sūpāsawā that really grabbed my attention at Access LIVE. This product, available in 30 states in the US already, makes batching not just a breeze but a more budget-friendly proposition. Cost per bottle should run around $9. The prebatched cocktail Deluxe Distillery was serving at their booth took less than five minutes to make.

As far as entire portfolios, Deluxe stood out the most to me.

Agave

Inspiro Tequila

This is clean tequila brand needs to be on your radar. There are currently two Inspiro Tequila expressions, Luna Blanco and Rosa Reposado. Both premium tequilas can be enjoyed neat, and Rosa is rested in rosé wine barrels sourced from France.

Inspiro is woman-owned, confirmed additive-free, certified Kosher, gluten-free, sugar-free, and zero carb. Oh, and the bottles are eye-catching.

Sepulto Mezcal Artesanal

This artisanal mezcal launched at this year’s Access Live event. And yes, this is another case of the bottle catching my eye and drawing me in.

Sepulto is aged for one year in glass, underground. As a result of the distiller’s cooking process, the complex notes of espadín, sahuayo, and papalote agaves come through with each sip. This is definitely a mezcal you’ll want to add to your super-premium agave spirits. In fact, it will be right at home on your back bar and menu next to your Don Julio 1942.

Vodka

Tenjaku Japanese Vodka

Don’t let the clean label fool you: Tenjaku is as fun a brand as it is a premium vodka. Click here to check out their packaging, which drives home my point.

Speaking of premium quality, Tenjaku Vodka is made from Yamada Nishiki rice, which is also used to make some of the best sake in the world. Further, the liquid is filtered not just through birch charcoal but also bamboo charcoal. The result is a vodka that tastes fresh and is delicate on the palate.

Herbesco Pepper Vodka

Looking for a great vodka that can serve as a spicy base for Bloody Marys and other hot cocktails straight from the bottle?

Herbesco Pepper Vodka is made with jalapeño, japones, chile de árbol, and bell pepper. Along with heat, expect herbal, fruity, and even chocolatey notes.

Gin

The Illusionist Dry Gin

Those familiar with Empress are familiar with what gives the gin its hue and color-shifting capability: butterfly pea flower. That botanical is also present in The Illusionist, which comes in a stylish, black Art Nouveau bottle.

Certified organic, The Illusionist delivers more than just visual impact. On the nose, licorice and citrus. Those notes are also present on the palate, along with fruity and floral flavors.

Whiskey

Yame Whisky

This Japanese whisky was introduced to me by Wine of Japan, an incredible portfolio of ultra-premium sake, beer, and spirits. Anyone who wants to add the highest quality sake from Japan need look no further. (In fact, I’ve been looking for a specific sake for over a decade. The VP or Wine of Japan knew exactly what I was talking about and had a sample at the booth. Amazing.)

Two expressions were available to try at Access LIVE, the 10 Year and 15 Year. The 10 Year features a 100-percent barley mashbill and is very easy to drink, delivering notes of vanilla and citrus. Think an easy-sipping bourbon. I found the 15 Year to a bit more complex, delivering dried fruit and grain on the palate. However, I had also sampled quite a few sake before trying this whisky.

In other words, you’re going to have to reach out to Wine of Japan and get tasted on both Yame expressions.

Tenjaku Whisky

There are two Tenjaku Whisky expressions currently: Blended and Pure Malt.

The former is sweet on the nose, with a touch of smoke. On the palate, Tenjaku Blended delivers grain, dried fruit, and a bit of spice.

The latter, Pure Malt, has nutty aroma with herbal notes. Expect wood and vanilla on the palate.

Niche

Wheyward Spirit

I could include woman-owned, operated, and distilled Wheyward in the whiskey category, but it’s too unique for that. The two available expressions are produced by upcycling whey.

Wheyward Spirit, the original expression, can stand in for vodka, gin, rum, sake, and even blanco tequila. The brand itself explains this innovative spirit quite succinctly: “Wheyward Spirit is one of a kind and was designed to take the best elements of vodka, sake, gin, and rum to be both a versatile and sippable clear spirit.”

There’s also Wheyward Spirit Wheyskey. Now that you’re familiar with the original, you can probably guess that this is a whey-based alternative to whiskey. This expression is barrel-aged Wheyward Spirit, and, like the original, is additive-, grain-, gluten-, and lactose-free. When I tasted Wheyskey, it most closely resembled a rye whiskey to me.

Alcohol-free

De Soi

“Savor the flavor, lose the booze, put the ‘fun’ in ‘functionality,’ and embrace the pleasure of restraint,” says non-alcohol brand De Soi.

This range of zero-proof apéritifs is loaded with interesting flavors, such as sparkling Très Rosé, citrusy and herbaceous Golden Hour, and jammy and bitter Champignon Dreams.

Operators looking to add sophisticated and unique non-alcohol beverage options should definitely look into De Soi.

Sparkling Wine

Rozoy Picot

If the production of this French sparkling wine didn’t involve a unique twist, I’m told Rozoy Picot would legally be Champagne.

However, these sparkling wines are blended with terpenes, the aromatic elements of cannabis. (Remember, terpenes don’t contain psychoactive elements, so this product doesn’t get you high.)

There’s a white varietal, Rozoy Picot OG Kush, and a red, Punch Rosé. I can only say that these must be smelled and tasted to be understood fully. Additionally, I can see these performing well at nightclubs as a unique bottle service option.

Image provided by author.

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Shrinking Globe: 2024 Food Trends

The Shrinking Globe: 2024 European Food Trends

by David Klemt

Loaded sweet potato fries bowl

It should come as no surprise that 2024 F&B trends are similar throughout Europe and the UK to those taking hold in North America.

Why do I refer to Europe and the UK separately? I’m aware that the UK is part of Europe. Regionally, one can think of the nation as northwestern Europe.

However, while geographers consider the UK part of Europe, many citizens of the UK don’t see things that simply. So, that’s why I mention the continent and nation separately.

With that out of the way: 2024 F&B trends. People like to say that the world is getting “smaller,” that the devices in our hands are making everything more accessible. That certainly seems to be the case with food and drink.

What you’ll likely notice is that the trends below follow what experts predict for North America rather closely. As David Allison says, people have far more in common with one another than they have differences.

The Consumer

Plants

I think it’s fair to say that plant-based diet mockery is defined by two characteristics.

One, people seem to aim their ridicule toward Americans. And two, it’s cliché at this point.

Much of the world already embraces plant-based diets. That doesn’t mean they’re only either vegetarian or vegan, either.

Estimates for how much of the world consists of flexitarians can reach over 40 percent. This particular diet limits or restricts the intake of animal-based foods. However, it’s not like veganism; flexitarians do consume some animal products. One can say that it’s a very individual diet. In fact, I doubt many flexitarians actually refer to themselves with that label.

Interestingly, though, plant-based brands must innovate if they’re going to succeed with consumers in Europe and the UK.

Hey, what do you know? That’s how it is in North America.

Now that plant-based protein alternatives are here to stay, people want to see innovative analogs.

They’ve seen nuggets and fingers. Burgers and patties aren’t anything new. People want plant-based counterparts for everything: seafood, steak, pork, etc.

Health & Wellness

Here’s a frighteningly hot take: People in Europe and the UK are concerned with their health. Shocking!

For the past few years, much has been made about North Americans and their “renewed” focus on their health and wellness. This is, of course, for obvious reasons.

Well, we can say the same about Europeans and Britons.

Generally speaking, people are trying to reduce their intake of processed foods. This ties to the section above in that many plant-based foods are highly processed. Brands will need to address this to achieve long-term success.

Along with avoiding processed foods, consumers in Europe and the UK are seeking out dishes that are higher in protein and fiber.

Across generations and Europe, people realize that a healthy diet is the top factor in feeling healthier.

The Operator

Happy Balance

Europeans and Britons have centuries upon centuries of history and tradition to contend with throughout their countries.

In some markets, this can lead to conflict or the misconception that operators can’t innovate.

This is, of course, an outdated way of thinking.

Whether operating in the UK or Europe, operators are embracing tech and finding ways to honor tradition while experimenting with the modern.

From the back of the house to the front, chefs and bartenders are drawing inspiration from culinary traditions. However, they’re also getting creative to put their own spins on the menu.

Perhaps more importantly, the guests they’re serving want to try these innovations.

From consumer-facing tech that enhances their visits to creative menu items that find inspiration from around the world, today’s guest is hungry and thirsty for what’s new. This is true regardless of how old and traditional a location may be.

Color

Just a few months ago, Frankfurt, Germany, played host to Food Ingredients Europe 2023.

One of the takeaways from last year’s show that stood out to me is the interest in color.

According to one market development specialist, it appears that Gen Z in Europe and the UK are over boring, bland shades. Instead, they want to be colorful.

From interior and physical menu design to food and drink items, European and British operators can deliver on that desire.

Of course, taking one’s concept in a more colorful direction necessitates knowing one’s guests. So, this is where exceptional service despite concept or category and robust tech platforms come into play.

If bold color is authentic to a concept and resonates with the guests, it could be time to reach out to an interior designer.

Speaking of reaching out, if you’re in Europe or the UK, have a concept you want to open or are already open and need some assistance, KRG Hospitality is excited to announce that we’re entering markets within both regions. Please contact uswe’re here to help.

Image: Ella Olsson on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality business plan. Restaurant. Bar. Cafe. Lounge. Hotel. Resort.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Life is Peachy with These Cocktails

Life is Peachy with These Pantone-inspired Cocktails

by David Klemt

Greek Spritzer drink

According to Pantone, the 2024 Color of the Year is Peach Fuzz, which communicates warmth, community, collaboration, and a sense of welcoming.

There’s a lot that operators can do with Pantone’s annual announcement.

For those who are curious, the 2023 Color of the Year was Viva Magenta, a bold, purplish shade of red. And in 2022, the color was Very Peri, a dynamic shade of blue.

If an operator is looking for a complete venue refresh, Peach Fuzz may be an effective choice. For example, people can leverage the 2024 Color of the Year with feature walls, seating, tablecloths, and physical menus.

Of course, not every operator is looking to undergo a redesign. In this case, there’s still plenty of opportunity to splash Peach Fuzz throughout a bar or restaurant. One simple and effective way is through the drink menu.

Below are three peach-forward cocktail recipes. They’re visually appealing, which is helpful since we tend to “drink” with our eyes first. And with peach brandy, puree, or bitters, they impart more than just color: peach fans will appreciate the flavor.

You’ll also find a recipe for the Cosmopolitan, the famous cocktail created by Toby Cecchini. It turns out Aubrey Plaza, the modern face of the Margarita, is also the spokesperson for the Cosmo. Just like they say there’s no Negroni without Campari, there’s no Cosmo without Cointreau.

Cheers!

Frankly, My Dear cocktail

Frankly, My Dear

  • 0.75 oz. Cointreau
  • 0.75 oz. Tequila
  • 0.75 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. Peach puree
  • 3 oz. Prosecco to top
  • Peach wedge to garnish

Prepare a Collins glass by filling it with ice. Add all ingredients except for the Prosecco and garnish to a shaker with ice. Shake well, then strain into Collins glass. Top with Prosecco, garnish with a peach wedge, and serve.

Fish House Punch cocktail

Fish House Punch

Add ice to a rocks, Collins, or other glass. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add all ingredients except for garnish. Shake well, strain, garnish with lemon zest, and serve.

Peach Spritzer cocktail, also known as Greek Spritzer

METAXA Peach Spritzer

  • 1.5 oz. METAXA 7 Stars
  • 1.5 oz. Prosecco or other sparkling wine
  • 0.75 oz. Tonic
  • 3 dashes Peach bitters
  • Peach wedge to garnish
  • For winter: Star anise and tree leaf to garnish
  • For spring: Jasmine flower to garnish

For this cocktail, start by selecting a red wine glass. Add METAXA 7 Stars, then add bitters and ice. Stir, add tonic, then top with Prosecco or other sparkling wine. Garnish with a peach wedge.

Cointreau Cosmopolitan cocktails

Cointreau Cosmo

  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. Cranberry juice
  • Orange twist to garnish

Your bartenders probably know how to make a Cosmo. But just in case, start by preparing a coupe or cocktail glass by chilling it. Add all the liquid ingredients and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake well, then strain into the prepared glass. Garnish and serve.

Images belong to their respective brands.

KRG Hospitality. Bar Consultant. Nightclub. Lounge. Mixology. Cocktails.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2024

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2024

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative January book selections will help you and your team transform your operations and F&B programming.

This month, we look at books covering an array of topics: becoming a great boss; gaining perspective when analyzing your business; and more.

To review the book recommendations from December 2023, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Single AF Cocktails: Drinks for Bad B*tches

You may roll your eyes at the title of this cocktail book but there’s no denying it has your attention. In that way, it’s much like a well-curated, themed cocktail menu split into cleverly named sections. In fact, this book is separated into sections that match its overall theme. For example, Honeymoon Phase, Betrayal, Devastation, and Resilience. If you have reality show fans among your guests, they’ll likely know author Ariana Madix from Vanderpump Rules and Dancing with the Stars. So, they’ll probably dig these drinks.

From Amazon: “The newly solo Ariana serves up her own recipes and perspective in a unique exploration of the stages of a doomed relationship. In her own words, Ariana takes back the narrative of her very public breakup while inspiring others to find inner strength in their own troubles. Each drink tells part of the story from her point of view, from when she first met her ex, through the insidious affair and its painful aftermath, and to her present state, coming out the other side, stronger than before.”

Grab it today!

How to Be a Great Boss

Entrepreneurs, when working with a team, need to be leaders. That means being a great boss. However, that doesn’t mean being a tyrant. If you want to earn buy-in from your team, if you want to get the most out of each person, you need to get them excited and engaged.

From Amazon: “Studies have repeatedly shown that the majority of employees are disengaged at work. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Often, the difference between a group of indifferent employees and a fully engaged team comes down to one simple thing: —a great boss.

“In How to Be a Great Boss, Gino Wickman and René Boer present a straightforward, practical approach to help bosses at all levels of an organization get the most from their people. They share time-tested tools that have worked for more than 30,000 bosses in every industry. You can learn to be a great boss—and dramatically improve both your organization’s performance and your team’s excitement about their work.”

Pick up the hardcover today.

Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes

As a business owner, it’s smart to see what’s changing. However, it’s also crucial to identify what’s not changing to gain perspective and understand the whole picture.

From Amazon: “With his usual elan, Morgan Housel presents a master class on optimizing risk, seizing opportunity, and living your best life. Through a sequence of engaging stories and pithy examples, he shows how we can use our newfound grasp of the unchanging to see around corners, not by squinting harder through the uncertain landscape of the future, but by looking backwards, being more broad-sighted, and focusing instead on what is permanently true.

“By doing so, we may better anticipate the big stuff, and achieve the greatest success, not merely financial comforts, but most importantly, a life well lived.”

Click here for the hardcover, or here for the paperback.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

This informative and conversational book written by KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey is the perfect read for aspiring or seasoned bar, pub, lounge, or even restaurant owners, operators, and managers looking for that competitive edge in operations! If you’re looking for both fundamental and in-depth planning methods, strategies, and industry focused insight to either start or grow a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent venue in today’s cut-throat industry, Bar Hacks is written just for you.

Pick up the paperback from Amazon today!

Hacking the New Normal: Hitting the Reset Button on the Hospitality Industry

Doug’s followup book to Bar Hacks! The world around us has changed. The food and beverage industry has changed. The hospitality industry has changed. But will some ways of life change for the better? Will perhaps the restaurant, bar, and hospitality industry come out even stronger? With the right changes to the previous status quo, it is possible. There’s no question, resets are major undertakings, but a major reset will provide us with a clean start and that’s what this industry needs.

Pick up KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey’s second book today! Click here.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

Business Plan for Boutique Hotel Motel Resort Property

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2023 KRG Recap: Top 8 F&B Articles

2023 KRG Recap: Top 8 F&B Articles

by David Klemt

Closeup of eight ball on pool table

For the second entry into our annual year-in-review article roundup we’re revealing the top eight food, beverage, and menu development articles of 2023.

From ChatGPT and advice from Chef Brian Duffy to articles from KRG Hospitality chef-consultant Nathen Dubé and mindset coach Jennifer Radkey, the articles below cover a wide range of F&B topics.

There’s even a look at Chef Duffy’s time on Food Network’s show BBQ Brawl with barbecue tips from our favorite pit master. It’s one of our favorite articles of the year, as well.

Cheers!

Closeup of keyboard

Can ChatGPT Write Food and Drink Menus?

After my “conversation” last month with ChatGPT about AI, I had another conversation during which I asked it to write me four menus.

Of course, I did this to prove a point. And upon reviewing the ChatGPT menus, you’ll likely reach the same conclusion.

Curious about how creative the AI-powered chatbot could be, I asked for four specific menus. As you’ll see, two are cocktail specific, one focuses on food, and one is a 20-item F&B menu for a specific event.

So, yes, ChatGPT can write food and drink menus. But there’s a caveat. I could leave you in suspense but that’s not very nice. Let’s jump in.

Write me a cocktail menu using the most popular cocktails from 2022.

Cocktail Menu

  1. Aperol Spritz – Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water, garnished with an orange slice
  2. Old Fashioned – Bourbon, sugar, bitters, and a citrus peel
  3. Margarita – Tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and salt rim
  4. Daiquiri – Rum, lime juice, and simple syrup
  5. Moscow Mule – Vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice
  6. Paloma – Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and soda water
  7. Pina Colada – Rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, and a cherry garnish
  8. Whiskey Sour – Bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  9. French 75 – Gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  10. Mai Tai – Rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, and orgeat syrup

*All cocktails are served over ice, unless otherwise requested.

Write me a cocktail menu using the most popular spirits and alcohol types of 2022.

Cocktail Menu

  1. Gin and Tonic – Gin, tonic water, and a lime wedge
  2. Vodka Martini – Vodka, dry vermouth, and an olive garnish
  3. Bourbon Manhattan – Bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters
  4. Tequila Sunrise – Tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup
  5. Rum Runner – Rum, blackberry liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine
  6. Whiskey Sour – Bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  7. Margarita – Tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and salt rim
  8. Daiquiri – Rum, lime juice, and simple syrup
  9. Long Island Iced Tea – Vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, and cola
  10. Pina Colada – Rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, and a cherry garnish

*All cocktails are served over ice, unless otherwise requested.

Click here to keep reading.

Lynn House making Old Fashioned cocktails for Elijah Craig

Prepare Now for Old Fashioned Week

It may be nearly two months away but it’s not too early to register your bar and team for Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week.

This year’s event, the fourth annual Old Fashioned Week, will take place from Friday, October 13 to Sunday, October 22.

As was the case in 2022, the Southern Smoke Foundation will be this year’s beneficiary. In 2020 and 2021, Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week raised a combined $200,000 for the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.

Just last year, to add context, Old Fashioned Week helped make it possible for Southern Smoke to provide nearly $110,000 in relief grants to food and beverage workers.

Those interested in participating this year can register their venue for free via this link. Create an Old Fashioned LTO menu—or simply make standard Old Fashioneds with Elijah Craig bourbon—and Elijah Craig will donate $1 for every Old Fashioned sold (up to $100,000).

There really couldn’t be a simpler way to deliver a fantastic, classic cocktail experience to guests while supporting a great cause.

Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Cocktail Contest

There’s more to Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week. You and your bartenders have the opportunity to participate in a cocktail contest, too.

From now until October 31, anyone who wants to throw their hat in the ring can submit their recipe for their own signature Old Fashioned.

The winner of the Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Cocktail Contest will win $5,000. They’ll also have their winning recipe included in Elijah Craig’s 2024 cocktail recipe book.

Recipes can be submitted through this link. For contest rules and judging criteria, please click here.

To learn more about Elijah Craig and the Old Fashioned, check out episode 52 of the Bar Hacks podcast with special guest Lynn House.

Continue reading here.

Tortilla with beans, cotija cheese and egg

Canadian Trends 2023: Technomic

Restaurant, bar, and hotel operators will find this year’s data-driven trend predictions from Technomic for 2023 insightful.

Interestingly but perhaps not surprisingly, some operators may be looking beyond North America for inspiration.

Per Technomic, Central and South American cuisines could influence menus in Canada this year. Other food trends that might take hold are “retro” health items, and all manner of pickled foods.

Of course, not every Canadian trend prediction involves F&B. According to Technomic, tech and the guest experience will play important roles.

To review last year’s Technomic predictions, click here. Now, let’s jump into Technomic’s 2023 predictions.

Guest Experience

Certainly, the guest experience should always be top of mind for operators, their leadership teams, and their staff.

In this instance, Technomic isn’t suggesting that the guest experience in general will be a trend. Obviously, with as important as it is to the success of any business, it’s a cornerstone.

Rather, Technomic predicts that guests will continue to feel the need to rein in their spending due to ricing costs and prices. However, the foodservice research firm also believes there’s still heavy desire for social interaction.

So, both those financial and social influences translate to the following: overdelivery.

Operators and their teams must ensure they position their brands well; make guests feel special every visit; and really dial in the guest experience. Specifically, Technomic suggests focusing on younger generations and menus with at least a couple specialty items that aren’t easy for a guest to replicate at home.

In other words, do whatever it takes to entice guests with memorable experience and quality menu items, and keep them coming back for more.

Follow this link to continue reading.

Carrots, celery and onions

Kitchen Doctrine: The Holy Trinity

To some, the Holy Trinity refers to the Christian doctrine of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But what’s the Cajun Holy Trinity?

Well, that’s a whole different story with which some people may not be as familiar. However, it carries equal weight in certain kitchens of the world.

Lending its name from religious credo, the Cajun Holy Trinity was developed in the state of Louisiana in the southern United States. Chef Paul Prudhomme gets the credit for introducing the term in 1981, along its popularization.

Cajun or Creole cuisine evolved from French, Spanish, and West African immigrants. French traditions blended into a melting pot of West African, Spanish, and Native American cuisines. The French and the Acadians (French colonists deported from Acadia in what is now Nova Scotia, Canada) both influenced Louisiana’s cuisine. The Acadians became known as Cajuns to English speakers, and thus Cajun cooking grew out of necessity in Louisiana.

Mirepoix 101

The French contributed two staples directly to Cajun and Creole cooking: roux-based cooking and the trinity of mirepoix, or onions, celery, and carrots. In Louisiana, however, carrots didn’t grow as easily as bell peppers. So, bell peppers, typically the more bitter green version, replaced them.

Some cooks were so bold as to add garlic to the Holy Trinity, referring to it as the Pope. Other variants use garlic, parsley, or shallots in addition to the three Trinity ingredients. Unlike the elaborate French dishes using mirepoix, the Holy Trinity is more symbolic of rustic, family-style meals.

These ingredients are the first to go into the pot or skillet, creating a flavorful foundation for gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, and more. Often, by adding a bit of flour and whisking, a roux is built right on top of these sweet and colorful aromatics to form a thicker base.

The ratio is also overturned from the traditional mirepoix of two parts onion, one part celery, one part carrot, with three parts onions to two parts celery to one part bell pepper.

To learn more, click here.

Aubrey Plaza holding a Margarita made with Cointreau

Cointreau Wants to Know: Are You Making MargaRights?

Temperatures are rising and people are socializing, so Cointreau wants to make sure you and your team make Margaritas right.

In fact, they’re so serious about Margarita specs that they’re partnering with Aubrey Plaza educate the public. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Margarita, the iconic brand is launching the MargaRight campaign.

Challengers come and go but so far, the Margarita is the top cocktail in the US. This has been the case for many, many years. Of course, it’s also a popular cocktail around the world and has been number one in other countries as well.

Now that we’re a week away from the “official” start of summer, it’s paramount to make sure your Margaritas are MargaRight. For one thing, it’s the perfect summer sipper. For another, people are eager to socialize in restaurants and bars, and the Margarita is sure to join groups of friends as they hang out together.

But there’s another reason to ensure your Margs are on point: The wrath of Aubrey Plaza. More accurately, avoiding incurring Plaza’s wrath for putting MargaWrongs across your bar.

Margarita mix? Anger. No Cointreau? Fury.

To borrow a refrain from fanatics of another classic cocktail, it’s safe to say that Plaza would agree with, “No Margarita without Cointreau.”

The Original Margarita

Some, including Cointreau, support the belief that the Margarita’s creation traces back to 1948. For this origin story, Dallas socialite Margarita Sames is either the inventor of the Margarita or asked for a signature cocktail for a party she was hosting at her Acapulco home. Going further, another claim is that Tommy Hilton was a party guest and brought the recipe to Hilton properties, helping to make it famous.

Another claim is that the Margarita is simply a logical evolution of the Daisy. The mid-1800s tipple has a cocktail family named after it, and the Margarita, Sidecar, Cosmopolitan, and Daiquiri sprang forth from it.

Regardless of what origin story you choose to believe, Cointreau champions the original recipe: Cointreau, blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, and a lime wheel to garnish. It’s this classic recipe that Cointreau and Plaza are adamant about for the MargaRight campaign.

Click here to keep reading.

Chef Brian Duffy biting into a sandwich

BBQ Brawl: ‘Cue Tips from Chef Brian Duffy

Friend of the Bar Hacks podcast and KRG Hospitality Chef Brian Duffy is rocking it on season four of Food Network‘s BBQ Brawl.

And he’s dropping barbecue and cooking jewels while killing it on multiple styles of grill.

When we meet Chef Duffy on episode one of BBQ Brawl, he’s introduced as “The Renowned Restaurateur.” This makes sense given the fact that he has helped open more than 100 restaurants throughout his career.

Regarding grilling and barbecuing, Chef Duffy will use elements of whatever style he thinks will work best for a given situation. As he explains it, his barbecue “isn’t bound by the rules of any one style.”

I also want to point out that there’s what appears to be a 1950s-era Dodge Power Wagon, perhaps a Series 1 or Series 2 model, on Star Hill Farm, where this show was filmed. This isn’t relevant in any way to cooking, grilling, or barbecue. I’m just a Car and Motorcyle Guy® and I noticed the Power Wagon immediately.

Also, be sure to check out episode 33 and episode 53 of the Bar Hacks podcast to hear from the chef himself.

Alright, let’s check out some tips and tricks from Chef Duffy that he has shared on season four of BBQ Brawl. Like he said to the camera in the first moments of episode one, “Students, meet your pit master.”

Episode 1

If you want your food to be charred, you need to commit.

“You’ve gotta let it sit. Don’t move it,” says Chef Duffy. “Let that char happen.”

It’s just that simple. Patience is a cooking technique.

Dishes

Signature Tacos

  • Mulita, a Mexican street taco made by dipping a tortilla in birria broth.
  • Togorashi- and ancho-chili-smoked red Snapper taco with “a fun little slaw.”

Team Challenge: “California Smoke” menu (Fire delivery: Santa Maria grill)

  • Cabbage, kale, Swiss chard medley with beans
  • Scallops and smoked crab salad with preserved lemon gremolata and avocado (collaboration with Chef Larissa Da Costa; Chef Duffy prepared the smoked crab salad)

For much more, keep reading here.

Chef Brian Duffy holding a plate with a plant-based shrimp po' boy sandwich on it

The New Wave of Plant-based Foods

A key takeaway from the 2023 National Restaurant Association Show is this: a new wave of plant-based foods has made landfall.

In fact, given how many booths had plant-based items on offer, more waves will be crashing ashore. Plant-based items had a presence inside every building at McCormick Place in Chicago. For those who haven’t attended to show, McCormick Place has well more than two-million square feet in exhibit space.

There were, of course, the plant-based standards to which we’ve all grown accustomed. Burger patties, breakfast sausages, “chicken” nuggets, “pepperoni” pizzas… However, we now know there’s more innovation on the way.

Years ago, F&B experts declared seafood alternatives as the “holy grail” of plant-based foods. The race has been on to “crack the code” and offer seafood alternatives that look, cook, and taste like their animal counterparts.

One brand that appears to have reached their goal? New Wave Foods. And their staunchest culinary supporter? The revered and iconic Chef Brian Duffy.

Seismic but Sensible Shift

Those who are familiar with Chef Duffy know he’s unafraid to share his views on all things culinary, service, operations, and hospitality. The same people also know that he’s demanding when it comes to ingredients, distributors, and partners.

I say that to say this: Some people are shocked Chef Duffy is championing a plant-based food. However, I don’t share that reaction. Chef Duffy has never been anti-plant-based—he has been waiting for plant-based items to rise to his high standards.

During his 2023 NRA Show demo, the acclaimed and in-demand chef made shrimp-fried rice. Of course, he replaced shrimp with a plant-based alternative produced using mung bean and seaweed. That product is New Wave Foods Shrimp.

The demo proved so engaging that Chef Duffy was asked to repeat it on the final day of the show. I, for one, am not surprised—Chef Duffy is an incredible speaker and chef.

This seismic shift—not just in Chef Duffy’s embrace of plant-based foods but also throughout the industry—is sensible when you consider something said during the demo.

Boiling it down to the basics, Chef Duffy asked why operators wouldn’t want to offer high-quality plant-based items to their guests. It’s simple: Increasingly, this is what guests want. So…give it to them.

Continue reading here.

Chef pouring espagnole or brown sauce

Say Hi to Your Mother Sauces for Me

A well-crafted sauce can elevate a dish, tying all the elements together, adding richness, texture, and colour to almost any recipe.

French cuisine in particular is renowned for its liberal use of flavorful sauces. Developed in the 19th century by French chef Auguste Escoffier, the five mother sauces are basic recipes that serve as the foundation for any number of secondary sauce variations. Each mother sauce is categorized primarily according to its unique base and thickener.

The five French mother sauces are: béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato. Historically, Chef Escoffier originally designated only four mother sauces, and mayonnaise as a cold mother sauce, with Hollandaise below that.

Interestingly, when his book was translated to English, mayonnaise was forgotten or omitted; Hollandaise was listed as the fifth mother sauce.

Beginning culinary students and experienced cooks alike commit these five sauces to memory. They learn that by tweaking their basic formulas, all manner of great sauces can be crafted.

Please meet the five mother sauces below. I explain: how each is made; their basic uses; and some secondary sauces you can make from them.

1. Béchamel

Béchamel, or white sauce, is a simple milk-based sauce made from butter, flour, and milk.

You know béchamel as the white sauce that gives chicken pot pie its texture, or as the vehicle of cheesy goodness and binding agent in delicious mac ‘n’ cheese creations. The sauce can be found in everything from scalloped potatoes and lasagne to gravy iterations.

In classical cuisine, béchamel was poured over fish, eggs, or steamed chicken. While béchamel has a generally neutral taste on its own, the classic mother sauce adds a unique creamy texture that is both hearty and comforting.

My personal favorite base recipe is Joel Robuchon’s equation of one liter of milk, 60 grams of butter, and 60 grams of flour. It works perfectly every time.

To make béchamel, start by cooking butter and flour in a saucepan until it forms a substance called a roux. The roux is responsible for thickening the sauce. To remove the floury taste, cook the roux over medium heat for a few minutes.

When the roux is ready, slowly whisk in warm milk and simmer until it forms a creamy sauce. Strain the liquid after it thickens to get rid of any sediment, then add salt and pepper. (You can add other ingredients as well, such as bay leaves, nutmeg, onion, clove, or even cheese.)

With the addition of a few extra seasonings like salt, pepper, and cloves, béchamel is complete — though it may be used as a base for many other sauces.

Béchamel sauces include:

  • Mornay: onion, cloves, Gruyère, and Parmesan cheese
  • Alfredo: garlic with heavy cream
  • Soubise: butter and caramelized onions
  • Cheddar sauce (used for mac ‘n’ cheese or nacho-style sauces): whole milk and cheddar cheese

For more sauces and insights, click here.

Image: Alex Lion on Unsplash

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

New Cocktail Festival Coming to Africa

New Cocktail & Spirits Festival Coming to Africa

by David Klemt

Colin Asare-Appiah and Mark Talbot Holmes

One of the most influential people in the hospitality industry, Colin Asare-Appiah, is bringing a new cocktail and spirits festival to South Africa in 2024.

Asare-Appiah is, of course, a bartender and spirits aficionado. However, he’s also an industry educator, author, a mentor, and historian. And he’s driven to shine a spotlight on the cocktail scenes throughout Africa.

AJABU, which means “wondrous” in Swahili, is the creation of Asare-Appiah and Mark Talbot Holmes, the founder of U’Luvka Vodka. From March 12 to 13, Johannesburg will be the first city to host AJABU. Cape Town will follow closely, with the festival taking place from March 15 to 16.

To put it plainly, the cocktail community doesn’t seem to pay much attention to African countries. At KRG Hospitality, we focus primarily on North America. So, I have to admit that when it comes to industry coverage, I’m guilty of overlooking African countries as well.

Looking back at industry awards from the past couple of years drives this point home. Bars, restaurants, hotels… If they’re not in Johannesburg or Cape Town, they’re not earning nominations, honorable mentions, or rankings, with very few exceptions.

Asare-Appiah and Talbot Holmes are aiming to change this situation. They duo and their collaborators intend to build international connections between trade, brands, and media through this bi-annual cocktail festival.

To learn more about this new industry gathering, please review the press release below. Cheers!

AJABU Cocktail and Spirits Festival Set to Debut in South Africa

New International Festival will Celebrate the Incredible Growth in the African Hospitality Community in 2024 and Beyond

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – AJABU, Africa’s first bi-annual international Cocktail and Spirits festival, is set to debut in Johannesburg and Cape Town next year, with the first of two week-long events taking place from March 10-18, 2024.

Curated by Colin Asare-Appiah (Bar World 100 Most Influential Figures 2023, Co-Author Black Mixcellence, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s 2023 Spirited Awards® Finalist: Best Bar Mentor) and Mark Talbot Holmes (founder of U’Luvka Vodka). AJABU aims to become Africa’s leading spirits and cocktail festival. It will not only connect the hospitality industry and their community across Africa and beyond, it will also inspire innovation, collaboration, and creativity, while celebrating the continent’s incredible diversity of people, ingredients, and beverages.

The word AJABU means ‘wondrous’ or ‘amazing.’ As the name suggests, the festival will embrace the wondrous diversity of the hospitality industry across Africa, connecting brands, bar trade, media and cocktail enthusiasts, while supporting a new generation of African bartenders and hospitality professionals.

Taking place in both Johannesburg (March 10-13) and Cape Town (March 13-18), AJABU will host each city’s most renowned venues for a line-up of exciting mashups. Participating award-winning international bars include Library by the Sea, Milady’s, Rayo and Trailer Happiness. These teams will partner with bars across Africa such as Front Back and Hero for a week of education sessions, spirited forums, wine tours, and hosted dinners at local Johannesburg and Cape Town venues. In Johannesburg, festival-goers can look forward to experiencing the unique offerings of bars such as Sin + Tax, Saint, Smoking Kills, Cin Cin Zioux, Mesh Club, and Marabi Club. Meanwhile, Cape Town will host festivities at Cause/Effect, Art of Duplicity, Chef’s Warehouse, Hacienda, The Drinkery, House of Machines, Asoka, and Talking to Strangers.

“AJABU is a platform to celebrate Africa’s vibrant spirit and bartending culture,” exclaims Asare-Appiah. “We’re committed to fostering the growth of the hospitality industry across the continent by inspiring and empowering the bartending community to push the boundaries of their craft while providing a unique platform to showcase the diverse and rich culture of African drinks and ingredients.”

AJABU is thrilled to announce its partnership with local industry legends Kurt and Etienne Schlechter as well as award-winning writer & educator Leah Van Deventer as the team on the ground.

The festival will soon announce a lineup of the world’s best bars who will bring their creativity and knowledge to Johannesburg and Cape Town venues. Attendees can anticipate an unforgettable gathering of industry-leading professionals who will surprise and delight attendees with their creativity and innovation.

The March edition of AJABU will be followed by another week-long event across both cities in November, in partnership with Cape Town Beverage Show.

For more information, please visit ajabufestival.com

About AJABU

AJABU is Africa’s first annual international spirits and cocktail festival, created by Colin Asare-Appiah (Bar World’s 100 Most Influential Figures 2023, Co-Author Black Mixcellence of the Cocktail Foundation’s 2023 Spirited Awards® Finalist: Best Bar Mentor) and Mark Talbot Holmes (founder of U’Luvka Vodka). With a mission to become the continent’s leading hospitality community gathering, AJABU connects the industry across Africa and beyond to inspire innovation, collaboration, and creativity.

Image: AJABU

Bar Pub Brewery Nightclub Club Nightlife Business Plan

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

af&co. x Carbonate: 2024 Trends to Watch

af&co. x Carbonate: 2024 Trends to Watch

by David Klemt

Paddle and ball on pickleball court

Marketing and creative agencies af&co. and Carbonate Group‘s 16th annual Hospitality Trends Report provides in-depth insight across several categories.

This is an in-depth, insightful report operators should review in its entirety. The “Sweet Sixteen” edition of this yearly report is available for download here.

There are two interesting details toward the end of af&co. and Carbonate’s report. First, a list of 2023 clients. Second, an explanation for the design of the report itself.

This makes sense: Carbonate is a creative agency that works in the hospitality space, after all. Further, af&co. is a hospitality industry marketing agency.

Now, I won’t be sharing every trend or insight found in these two agencies’ report. Rather, I’m highlighting a number of items across four of the report’s six categories. Again, I think operators and leadership team members should download the report for themselves.

Food

While af&co. and Carbonate identify specific cuisines and items that are trending, it’s their 10,000-foot view of food that I find most compelling. In terms of the big picture, “rigid” adherence to authentic cuisine is falling out of favor.

Chefs, in the agencies’ opinions, are taking a more modern approach to menus. Instead of following the “rules” of certain cuisines, they’re creating dishes and programs that defy labels. Of course, for those who feel the need to label, one could call this approach “contemporary fusion.”

Examples given are Good Luck Gato’s Okonomiyaki Baked Potato, and the Birria Dumplings at Little Bull.

Cuisine Trends

Of course, af& co. and Carbonate also zoom in on food. Their Cuisine of the Year goes to Korean.

Dessert of the Year goes to the Pavlova or Eton Mess. So, one can argue that operators should connect with their back-of-house teams about meringue-based desserts.

Other food trends include making pastries with buckwheat; getting inventive with mortadella; serving borek in snack and entree size; and Brazilian-style pizza.

However, it’s a presentation trend that stood out the most to me. Accompanied by a timeline complete with images, the agencies state confidently that we’re in the “Crescent Moon” era of plating.

Visualize a plate, then place all of the food along the edge, with roughly two-thirds of the space open. That’s the crescent moon presentation.

Beverage

A number of the trends in this section aren’t exactly new. That tells me that some are likely on the brink of moving from trend to ubiquity.

That, or they’re at risk of bumping against their expiration date.

Two trends that have been popping their fins out of the sea of cocktails for a bit make it into the af&co. and Carbonate report. One is clarified cocktails.

Spend a bit of time looking up cocktails on social media and you’ll see these are a bit divisive. Some bartenders are all for them, some appear to absolutely despise this trend. Guests, however, seem to like the novelty of well-known, opaque or translucent classic turning transparent.

Another drink trend? Culinary cocktails. For food-driven concepts, it makes perfect sense to encourage the bar team to work closely with the kitchen team. Offering culinary cocktails is one method of pulling a concept’s threads tighter, telling a more complete story.

Along those lines, the agencies identify another divisive cocktail trend: cheese.

Personally, cocktails that feature cheese aren’t my thing. However, these drinks are, at the minimum, going to grab a guest’s attention. And those who order these drinks aren’t likely to forget the experience any time soon, good or bad.

That last point is important for operators and their teams to remember. A negative experience can be more powerful and stick with a guest longer than a positive one. So, pursue trends with caution.

Hotel

One of the biggest hotel developments the Hospitality Trends Report identifies is the dual-brand hotel. This is also a trend with which KRG Hospitality is well acquainted, both through industry research and client projects.

So far, the most common approach tends to include two towers, a shared lobby and fitness center, and shared F&B concepts. However, there are properties that incorporate not only brand-specific design for each tower but separate the bars and restaurants as well.

Notably, Marriott opened the first-ever tri-brand hotel in Nashville in 2019. The hotel and resort colossus combined an AC Hotel, a Residence Inn, and a SpringHill Suites.

Another interesting hotel trend? Eco-friendly, pre-fab construction. An excellent example of this approach is Moliving. To learn more about this brand, check out Bar Hacks podcast episode 68 with Jordan and Hanna Bem.

Interest by consumers in supporting eco-friendly brands informs two other trends identified by af&co. and Carbonate. One of these is hotels and resorts including e-bikes among their amenities.

Another is rewarding guests for engaging in a number of green initiatives. For example, cleaning up the beach in front of a hotel, or helping to plant trees on or near the property.

Speaking further of amenities, hotel and resort operators are likely aware that if they have courts for racquet sports, they need to include pickleball.

Design

Operators considering a refresh or starting from a clean slate for a new space may want to work with a designer on the following approach: maximalism.

According to the 16th annual Hospitality Trends Report, this bold, playful design language is on the rise. Following this trend, af&co. and Carbonate think that maximalism is working particularly well for “concept-driven, design-forward” bars.

As far as colors and materials operators may want to ask designers about, the agencies suggest pink, bronze, gold, and velvet. These colors are warm and welcoming, exactly what a hospitality venue should be.

To download the Hospitality Trends Report, click here. Two categories not covered in this article are Marketing Ideas and Social Media Trends, so follow that link!

Image: Mason Tuttle on Pexels

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

DoorDash Names 2023 Global F&B Trends

DoorDash Names 2023 Global F&B Trends

by David Klemt

Chef torching salmon sushi

As we get close to winding down 2023 and welcoming 2024, DoorDash takes a shot at identifying the global F&B trends to watch.

This is an exciting and insightful time of year for our industry. In the last quarter, different sources start publishing their data-backed F&B predictions for the year ahead.

Take, for example, Technomic’s Global, Canadian, and American trend predictions for 2023. Oh, and don’t worry—we’ll be taking a look at their predictions for 2024 soon.

Today, however, we’re checking in on DoorDash. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of third-party delivery. It’s no secret I favor direct delivery for operators.

There’s no denying, though, that third-party delivery companies have access to valuable data. From the top food and drink orders to the dayparts seeing the most delivery and pickup order growth, they can help operators see shifts in consumer behavior.

So, I’m happy to take a look at what food trends DoorDash thinks operators should watch moving forward.

Before we jump in, I’m happy that DoorDash includes this cautionary statement in their article: “Finally, always consider whether or not a trend actually fits in at your restaurant.”

At KRG Hospitality, we couldn’t agree more. Jumping on every trend, as tempting as that may be, is unwise and can do harm than good. So, while the lists below identify trends that are gaining traction currently, operators need to be discerning.

Food Trends

Let’s start with a trend multiple sources identified toward the end of 2022 that appears to still be on an upward trajectory: pickles.

Seriously, it seems that people can’t get enough pickles. Pickle pizza appears to the current darling when it comes to this food trend. Speaking of pizza, DoorDash sees square pizzas as a trend to watch.

Another trend that multiple sources have been keeping tabs on is chimichurri. According to DoorDash, this condiment is finding its way onto all manner of food item.

Other food trends that operators should be aware of are bowls (deconstruct a sandwich, burrito, etc., and you have a bowl); oyster mushrooms subbing in for meat; higher-end tinned fish; and gluten-free menu options.

To be honest, I don’t think that last one is just a trend. At this point, offering gluten-free options or entire menus is mainstream.

Now, there are two more food trends I want to address separately. One, smaller menus. This is a trend I believe most operators can and should get behind. Shrinking a menu can result in lower food and labor costs, and a happier team. Making a menu smaller can also make a restaurant more nimble and engaging as LTOs may have more impact.

And then there’s aburi sushi, which is presented after the top of the fish is torched. This gives sushi a smoky flavor and brings in a different texture element.

To be fair, I’ve expected this to take off for the past several years. Now, it appears it’s taking hold and moving from fad to trend.

TikTok Trends

Yes, we have to talk about TikTok. There’s no question that the platform is a trend-producing powerhouse.

Clearly, TikTok has an influence on food trends. If you want to know what your younger guests want to try, check TikTok. The same goes for your guests who are highly engaged with social media influencers.

Below, the trends DoorDash sees taking hold.

  • Chopped sandwiches. Do you have sandwiches on your menu? Can your guests watch as your team makes them? You may want to create a chopped version of your signature or best-selling sandwich.
  • Pasta salad summer. Apparently, this summer was the Summer of Pasta Salad. Specifically, pasta salads made with fresh ingredients, and made without ingredients like mayonnaise.
  • Cottage cheese. According to DoorDash, TikTokers are putting cottage cheese in scrambled eggs, adding it to pasta sauce, and using it to make cheese toasts. I’ve personally tried the TikTok trend of using cottage cheese to make nacho cheese sauce.

One word of caution: TikTok trends come and go in the blink of an eye. So, operators need to hop on trends that work with their restaurant or bar before they’re already out of favor. It’s a daunting task.

To review this DoorDash report in its entirety, including beverage and grocery trends, follow this link.

Image: Ivan Samkov on Pexels

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: November 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: November 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative November book selections will help you and your team transform your operations and F&B programming.

This month, we look at a new branding and marketing book. We also dive into agave spirits and cuisine from the Canadian Prairies.

There’s an eye-opening exploration into the topic of technology, culture, and the “alignment problem,” as well.

To review the book recommendations from October 2023, click here.

Let’s jump in!

The Restaurant Marketing Mindset: A Comprehensive Guide to Establishing Your Restaurant’s Brand, from Concept to Launch and Beyond

If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear Chip Klose speak, look into his books. His latest The Restaurant Marketing Mindset, came out in early October. As the title suggests, this book is for anyone who’s struggling with branding and marketing, or who simply wants a fresh perspective on this crucial element of operations.

From Amazon: “Restaurants boast some of the highest failure rates of any industry, yet even worse is the sheer number of concepts that struggle just to break even. In The Restaurant Marketing Mindset, Chip Klose introduces a series of mindset shifts and actionable frameworks to help owners and operators finally take control of their marketing.

With more than twenty years of operational experience—plus an MBA in food marketing—Klose has the authority, experience, and track record needed to speak confidently on the subject. Each lesson stacks one on top of the other, giving the reader a step-by-step plan to attract more diners, retain those diners, and spark word of mouth with the ones who matter most.

This book is for any chef, owner, or operator who’s ever felt overwhelmed when it comes to marketing their restaurant. Each chapter is filled with powerful insights to help you build a more profitable (and sustainable) business.”

Pick it up today!

Prairie: Seasonal, Farm-Fresh Recipes Celebrating the Canadian Prairies

This engaging cookbook features 1oo traditional and creative recipes highlighting Canadian Prairie cuisine. These seasonal, farm-to-table recipes are sure to impress your guests.

From Amazon: “No matter the season, the Prairies are all about preserving every ounce of food, so of course there’s also tons of helpful tips and tricks on reducing food waste. There’s even a Staples chapter with recipes for stocking your pantry to keep you cooking all year long. Both a love letter to Canada’s grandest provinces and an indispensable collection of recipes, Prairie is as inviting and bountiful as the region it celebrates.”

Agave Spirits: The Past, Present, and Future of Mezcals

The authors of this informative book visited eight Mexican states to learn all they could about mezcal. By extension, they learned not only about traditional production but also where this hugely popular spirits category is headed for the future.

From Amazon: “The result of the authors’ fieldwork and on-the-ground interviews with mezcaleros in eight Mexican states, Agave Spirits shows how traditional methods of mezcal production are inspiring a new generation of individuals, including women, both in and beyond the industry. And as they reach back into a rich, centuries-long history, Nabhan and Suro Pinera make clear that understanding the story behind a bottle of mezcal, more than any other drink, will not only reveal what lies ahead for the tradition―including its ability to adapt in the face of the climate crisis―but will also enrich the drinking experience for readers.”

The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values

When we build automated systems, we’re placing a lot of trust in our expertise. And because humans are fallible, the systems we build are far from perfect.

From Amazon: “Today’s ‘machine-learning’ systems, trained by data, are so effective that we’ve invited them to see and hear for us—and to make decisions on our behalf. But alarm bells are ringing. Recent years have seen an eruption of concern as the field of machine learning advances. When the systems we attempt to teach will not, in the end, do what we want or what we expect, ethical and potentially existential risks emerge. Researchers call this the alignment problem.”

Hacking the New Normal: Hitting the Reset Button on the Hospitality Industry

The world around us has changed. The food and beverage industry has changed. The hospitality industry has changed. But will some ways of life change for the better? Will perhaps the restaurant, bar, and hospitality industry come out even stronger? With the right changes to the previous status quo, it is possible. There’s no question, resets are major undertakings, but a major reset will provide us with a clean start and that’s what this industry needs.

Pick up KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey’s second book today! Click here.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Business Coach. Restaurant Coach. Hotel Coach. Hospitality Coach. Mindset Coach.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Last-minute Halloween Cocktails!

Last-minute Halloween Cocktails!

by David Klemt

Jameson Irish Whiskey Witches' Brew cocktail

If you perhaps let Halloween preparations get by you, have no fear: here are three Jameson Irish Whiskey cocktails that pair well with different candies.

These aren’t just any three cocktails, however. Instead, Jameson is recommending these drinks because they happen to pair well with three distinct flavors:

  • Tart and sour;
  • sweet; and
  • chocolate.

Makes sense, right? As guests arrive, hopefully in costumes, they may bring candy with them. Or, you may be serving up some mini-candies along with the drinks crossing your bar.

Either way, the drinks below will enhance the guest experience by pairing with an array of candies.

Cheers! Or, boo! Whatever you think is clever, I dunno.

Tart & Sour

Let’s say a guest is munching on some SweeTARTS, Sour Patch Kids, or Warheads. Basically, they’re enjoying tart and/or sour candies this Halloween.

The drink below, according to Jameson, will pair well with those candy flavors.

Jameson Irish Whiskey Witches' Brew cocktail

Witches’ Brew

Out of these three cocktails, this one requires the most prep. You’re going to steep teabags in boiling water and let it cool.

And if you choose to make your own raspberry syrup, your bar team will have to simmer water with sugar and raspberries for a couple of minutes. This will also have to cool before use.

However, this is a large-format drink, so the following recipe allows you to prebatch before guests descend on your bar.

  • 1 bottle Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 1 carton Cranberry juice
  • 17 oz. Mint tea
  • 3.5 oz. Raspberry syrup
  • 6 Whole limes
  • 1 Orange
  • 12 Raspberries

Start by filling a large vessel with 17 ounces of boiling water. Add six mint teabags and let steep. Once cool, remove teabags. Juice the limes, slice the orange, and add to the vessel with the raspberries. Add the Jameson, cranberry juice, and syrup. Serve in a rocks glass over ice and garnish with raspberries and lime zest.

To make the syrup: In case you haven’t made syrup before, simply add 250mg of water, 250mg of sugar, and 100 grams of raspberries to a pot or saucepan and boil. After reducing to a simmer for two minutes, remove the pot or pan from heat. Let the syrup steep until cool, strain, bottle, and toss in a fridge.

Sweet

Does your guest have a sweet tooth? Are they chowing down on sweet, overly sugary candy? Maybe they’re throwing handfuls of candy corn down their gullet.

This is the drink for them!

Jameson Irish Whiskey Blood Rising cocktail

Blood Rising

From the most complex cocktail on this list to a simpler recipe.

Per Jameson, this cocktail is also known as the Blood Boiler.

  • 1 2/3 parts Jameson Black Barrel
  • 1 2/3 parts Lillet Rouge
  • 1 2/3 parts Orange juice
  • 1 1/6 parts Berry Syrup
  • Orange wedge to garnish
  • Berries to garnish

Prepare a rocks glass by placing a large ice cube inside. Combine all the liquid ingredients in the glass over the cube. Stir, then garnish with the orange and berries

To make the berry syrup: See the instructions above for the raspberry syrup.

Chocolate

I mean…chocolate. C’mon, it’s a loaded Halloween candy category. Snickers, Kit Kat bars, Milky Way bars, M&Ms, it doesn’t matter.

If a guest can’t resist the siren song of chocolate, the cocktail below will pair well with chocolatey notes.

Jameson Irish Whiskey Cold Brew Bittersweet Goodbye cocktail

Jameson Cold Brew Bittersweet Goodbye

If you’ve left your Halloween drink menu to the last minute, this is probably the quickest recipe on this list.

  • 1 1/3 parts Jameson Cold Brew
  • 1 1/3 parts Campari
  • 1 part Blood orange juice
  • 3 parts Tonic water
  • 1 Slice of a blood orange or red grapefruit to garnish

Fill a highball with ice, then add the first three ingredients. Add the tonic water and garnish.

Note: Orange also goes well with chocolate, so consider playing with Jameson Orange Whiskey if you have the time.

Images via Jameson Irish Whiskey

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

Top