Manhattan

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Drinks for Your World Whisky Day Menu

Drinks for Your World Whisky Day Menu

by David Klemt

Whiskey in Fine & Rare NYC glass

This Saturday is the eleventh annual celebration of World Whisky Day, the perfect day to highlight your whisky and cocktail menus.

One revenue-generating method of drawing in guests is a promotion showcasing popular, lesser-known, or rare whiskies. Operators can also create a whisky and beer combo promotion.

Of course, there’s also the specialty cocktail menu. There are a few different approaches to this promotion.

An operator and their bar team can focus on one specific cocktail, offering three or four “takes” on it. Another way to make this work is to take the same cocktail and feature a different whisky in each one.

A different approach is to create a World Whisky Day menu consisting of three or more of the most popular whisky cocktails. To help you identify which drinks to feature we looked into the top whisky drinks. Check them out below.

Old Fashioned

C’mon—you knew this was going to be on the list before you read past the title of this article. Drinks Digest ranked the Old Fashioned the number-one cocktail of 2021.

VinePair‘s list didn’t rank their most-popular cocktails overtly but this classic got its expected mention.

Manhattan

Just like the Old Fashioned, you expected this drink to make this list. While it can certainly be made with bourbon or an array of single malt American whiskies, the Manhattan shines when made with rye.

Whisky Sour

As Drinks International points out, the Whisky Sour may not be the top drink in most bars. In fact, it may not make it into their top three.

However, the simple but refreshing Whisky Sour is at least in the top ten of several bars, making it a solid choice for your specialty menu.

Boulevardier

Want to get some of the cocktail aficionados among your guests to flip out? Tell them loudly and confidently that the Boulevardier is better than the Negroni. That’ll certainly get them talking.

Or, hey, don’t do that. Just perfect this bourbon cocktail, a cousin of the Negroni, and highlight your build for World Whisky Day.

Mint Julep

The Kentucky Derby may be over but summer is just around the corner. People are still craving this centuries-old cocktail and VinePair called it “essential” last year.

Sazerac

Like many classics, the Sazerac was “medicinal” when it was first created in the 1830s. In 2008, this drink was made the official cocktail of New Orleans by the Louisiana state legislature.

The Sazerac is another cocktail recipe that VinePair said was an essential one for bars in 2021.

Vieux Carré

It’s difficult to overstate the important role New Orleans has played and continues to play in American cocktail culture.

The recipe, created about 100 years after the Sazerac, combines American whisky (rye, traditionally), Cognac, Bénédictine, sweet vermouth, and Peychaud’s bitters.

Penicillin

Created by Sam Ross when he was behind the stick at Milk & Honey, this is my favorite whisky cocktail. The recipe was one of Punch’s most popular last year, and it was on Drinks International’s top 50 list for 2021.

On a personal note, this is one of my all-time favorite whisky cocktails. In fact, the Penicillin is one of my favorite cocktails in general.

Honorable Mentions

These may not be top sellers for most bars (if any) but they’re worth consideration for World Whisky Day.

The Chauncey is a 1:1:1:1 combination of rye whisky, Cognac, gin, and sweet vermouth plus two dashes of orange bitters, served up.

Of course, there’s also the Mule, which lends itself to an incredible number of riffs. Select a whisky or two to come up with specialty Mules of your own.

Irish whisky stands out in an Irish coffee, which can be served iced/frozen when it’s hot outside.

And then we have the Rob Roy. If you want to be glib about it, this is a Manhattan made with Scotch rather than rye whisky.

Your Own Data

There’s an excellent resource for determining what drinks to feature at your restaurant or bar. It’s quite literally at your fingertips: your POS.

If you want to know what your guests are drinking and what they want, run a report.

How deep you get into the data is up to you, of course. Monthly, quarterly, seasonally, annually… There are myriad methods to determine your World Whisky Day’s best options.

Sure, you can probably safely assume that your top whisky cocktails are the same as those above. But why not be absolutely certain with your own data? You invest money and time into your POS—wring everything you can out of it.

Also, your bar team and servers. Ask them what whiskies guests have been asking for that you don’t have.

Use your POS to identify the whiskies gathering dust in your stockroom, then find a way to move them quickly (a well-priced LTO should work) and replace them with what guests want.

Image: YesMore Content on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Does the Margarita Still Reign Supreme?

Does the Margarita Still Reign Supreme?

by David Klemt

Whatever’s happening here, I’m in…

The Margarita has maintained the title of Most Popular Cocktail in the United States year after year.

But is the classic cocktail still wearing the crown and clutching the scepter?

Most Popular 2020 Cocktails

Midway through last year, Google revealed the top cocktail searches in each state:

  • Alabama: Hurricane
  • Alaska: Whiskey Sour
  • Arizona: Paloma
  • Arkansas: Frozen Daiquiri
  • California: Paloma
  • Colorado: Hurricane
  • Connecticut: Margarita
  • Delaware: Screwdriver
  • Washington, DC: Old Fashioned
  • Florida: Cuba Libre
  • Georgia: Sazerac
  • Hawaii: Lemon Drop Martini
  • Idaho: Kamikaze
  • Illinois: Manhattan
  • Indiana: French 75
  • Iowa: Kamikaze
  • Kansas: Screwdriver
  • Kentucky: Lily
  • Louisiana: Bushwacker
  • Maine: Margarita
  • Maryland: Kamikaze
  • Massachusetts: Old Fashioned
  • Michigan: Cosmo
  • Minnesota: Oliveto
  • Mississippi: Painkiller
  • Missouri: Gin and Tonic
  • Montana: Blue Hawaiian
  • Nebraska: Old Fashioned
  • Nevada: Grasshopper
  • New Hampshire: Old Fashioned
  • New Jersey: Manhattan
  • New Mexico: Old Fashioned
  • New York: Manhattan
  • North Carolina: Bushwacker
  • North Dakota: Kamikaze
  • Ohio: Boulevardier
  • Oklahoma: Black Russian
  • Oregon: Old Fashioned
  • Pennsylvania: Whiskey Sour
  • Rhode Island: Cosmo
  • South Carolina: Tequila Sunrise
  • South Dakota: Screwdriver
  • Tennessee: Buschwacker
  • Texas: Paloma
  • Utah: Cape Cod
  • Vermont: Cosmopolitan
  • Virginia: Old Fashioned
  • Washington: Old Fashioned
  • West Virginia: Kamikaze
  • Wisconsin: Grasshopper
  • Wyoming: White Russian

Margarita Slipping?

As you can see, the Margarita was only the top search in two states, Connecticut and Maine. Perhaps their access to the Atlantic Ocean coastline motivated residents of those states to enjoy the refreshing classic that invokes summer and escapism.

Regardless, the Margarita didn’t even make it into the top three. Third place went to the Cosmo, Manhattan and Screwdriver in a three-way tie, with each the most popular in three states.

Second place went to Kamikaze, the top cocktail search in Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, North Dakota and West Virginia.

Before I get to the first-place cocktail—according to a snapshot of time by Google—I have to address the clear winner of the Most Unique Search title. Minnesota’s top search was for the Oliveto cocktail, shaken and strained into a rocks glass:

  • 2 oz. Dry gin
  • 1 oz. fresh Lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz. Licor 43
  • 1/2 oz. full-bodied Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh Egg white
  • Ice cubes

New Number One?

The Old Fashioned, clinching seven states, was the number-one cocktail…for about 30 days in 2020.

Much has also been made about a supposed surge in interest for the Gin & Tonic.

However, scouring the Internet for data and articles, the Margarita is still sitting comfortably on the throne. According to multiple sources, the Margarita is a to-go cocktail mainstay, it’s succeeding in the RTD space (meaning it’s performing well on- and 0ff-premise), and home bartenders are driving up sales of tequila and cordials.

Trends are fun but classics are classics for a reason. So, make sure your Margs, G&Ts, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans and other staples are dialed in this year.

Image: Menú Acapulco on Unsplash

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