Beer, Wine & Spirits Insights
On this episode of "Across the Bar," we did something a little bit different. We went down to Miami to round up some of the best bartenders in the business and had them show off their skills in a black box challenge. With an ever-changing beverage industry, we wanted to get into the minds of top mixologists to see what trends they’ve been seeing and how they keep up with customer demands.
Although but a slight drop, in 2015, there was a global decline in alcohol demand — the first decline in more than a decade, so it's no surprise to see guests who aren't buzzing about getting buzzed. But with guests choosing to opt out of alcoholic drinks, how are restaurants catering to these customers who still want to fulfill social obligations without feeling left out on the beverage menu? Say hello to the mocktail.
We saw some hard hitters in the mix rise to the occasion, such as Pouring Ribbons and ABC Cocina bartender Kayla Hasbrook of the Big Apple and Seattle's Cameron George of Barrio, but only two took the throne as the kings of cocktails and qualified for the Legacy Crown at the international finals in Berlin: Congratulations to West Coast winner, Ryan Wainwright, and East Coast winner, Darnell Holguin!
There's a storm brewing in the beverage industry — and no, it's not beer. Whether or not it's your cup of tea, well, tea is trending. Tea can be found in almost 80 percent of households in the United States, with over 158 million Americans drinking it daily. In fact, in 2016, Americans consumed a half pound of it on average.
At Loa in New Orleans, creative director Alan Walter has conceived a dynamic, modern menu called the "Long Days of Rosé", using Pantone shades of pink to peach to burgundy as a visual road map. In doing so, he demonstrates how a bar or restaurant can elevate a product creatively, generating a level of excitement.
The growth of craft beer is old news, yet it continues to unfold and grow. Acquisitions from “big beer” are a testament to the fact that beer drinkers are demanding a different brew. They are demanding a local brew, and while parts of the West Coast don’t see much in the way of seasons, guests are open to the education.
By Jaclyn Morgan, FCSI, JM Foodservice Consulting, LLC
Connoisseurs, sommeliers, and oenophiles will offer different opinions for building and maintaining the best wine list. Frankly, sifting through each perception of the perfect wine list is like trying to convince someone that coffee or tea is better hot than iced, or describing the shape of a puffy cloud as a guitar or a unicorn.
Unlike summoning an imaginary unicorn, you can craft a magically well-rounded and profitable wine menu with a few tips and tricks. Pay attention to your food menu, your brand, and your style to hone your list just like that finely-crafted Tuscan chianti.
Understanding and Organization
The best wine lists create a perfect marriage between food and drink. Fine steakhouses will have substantial lists that are especially heavy on traditional, full-bodied red varietals. Italian trattorias should feature wines whose body and flavor will pair well with the spice and regional cuisine. The executive chef and wine director work closely together to pair based on overall taste and preference while navigating the naïveté of the public. As seasons and vintages change, the sommeliers will need continuing education around a rotating food and wine menu.
Below, we share some of our favorite shots from our travels around the country. Enjoy!