Looking to impress your punters this Christmas? Here's some inspiration for your cocktail list.
Cocktails are a market you can't afford to ignore at any time of the year – an estimated 8.7 million UK adults now enjoy cocktails out of home, according to the CGA Mixed Drinks Report published in April. The first quarter of 2018 showed cocktail sales had grown in value by 7.5 per cent year on year.
Promotions are the most effective way to boost cocktail sales – 44 per cent of cocktail drinkers say they use promotions almost every time they order them – but there are other ways to encourage sales without eating into your margins. Cocktail menus, recommendations from bar staff and "theatre of serve" are other big influences, CGA reports.
Seasonal drinks are another tactic, and adding a seasonal slant to a cocktail that is already popular in your gaff seems a sensible move.
That's why we've cased out the experts to find you ways of adding a festive feel to some of the UK's most popular cocktails.
1) Jager Negroni
With its 56 herbs and spices including citrus peel, liquorice, anise and ginger, there is definitely a whiff of Christmas about Jägermeister and, as the brand is stepping away from the bomb serve and promoting its versatility as a cocktail ingredient, what better way than to shift the gears up a notch on a standard Negroni by swapping vermouth for Jägermeister?
"As well as the ice cold shot, Jägermeister can also be enjoyed in other ways, from cocktails to long drinks, including those developed by bartenders across the UK with the support from our brand ambassador, Florian Beuren," says customer marketing and insights controller, Jonathan Dennys.
- 25ml Jägermeister
- 25ml Campari
- 25ml Gin
- Garnish: orange peel
Add all three ingredients to a glass and add ice cubes. Stir to cool, garnish with the orange peel and serve. Easy peasy orange
2. White Christmas Mojito
That same Mixed Drinks Report by CGA in April confirmed that, once again, the Mojito remains the UK's favourite cocktail (though by all accounts the Pornstar Martini is closing the gap at a pace). This recipe is from American food blogger Tieghan Gerard but others are available.
- Juice of a lime
- 8 x mint leaves
- 1 x tablespoon of sugar
- 15ml white rum
- 15ml coconut rum
- 60ml coconut milk
- Splash of sparkling water
- Garnish: pomegranate seeds
As with a normal Mojito, begin by muddling the lime juice, sugar and mint leaves in a glass and top with ice. In a blender, combine the white rum, coconut rum, and coconut milk. Pour into the glass, top with sparkling water and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds.
3. Jack Frost
This is basically a winter version of a Piña Colada, adding blue curaçao to the basic recipe to make it a wintery blue. There are lots of versions of this recipe online, which vary very little but after trying out a few, here's our favourite.
- Dash of simple syrup
- 25ml pineapple juice
- 25ml white rum
- 12ml blue curaçao
- 60ml cream of coconut
Put the ice, pineapple juice, vodka, blue curaçao and cream of coconut into a blender. Pour into glasses and serve at once.
4. Mince Pie Irish Martini
This one comes courtesy of cocktail master JJ Goodman, who created it after Sainsbury's approached him to try and distil the taste of Christmas into one drink. Inexplicably eschewing sprouts and gravy, JJ took inspiration instead from the nation's love of mince pies and gifted the world this tempting tipple.
- 50ml Irish cream liqueur
- 25ml Cognac
- 2x teaspoons mincemeat
- 25ml whole milk
- Garnish: clementine peel
Add all the ingredients, apart from the clementine peel, to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake it harder than you would your presents under the tree and strain into a Martini glass. To serve, take a strip of clementine peel and twist to spray the oils over the drink.
5. Fryst Berry Nutty
Think frozen cocktails are just for summer? You'd be wrong — sales of alcoholic slushies are rocketing whatever the season. Fryst (pronounced 'freest') brand owner Vimto Out of Home is hoping to capitalise on that this winter with cocktails such as this one – a festive blend of berry and nut flavours.
"Frozen cocktails are a huge trend for 2018, with more consumers than ever looking for refreshing cocktails in record time," says Ed Jones, senior customer marketing manager at Vimto Out of Home.
"Requiring minimum time and effort, bar staff simply have to pour the base spirit, add the frozen mix and serve."
- 25ml Amaretto
- 4 x parts Raspberry FRYST mix
Pour Amaretto into a glass or cup, add the frozen mix and serve.
6. Red Wine Spritzer
Of course, not everyone wants something heavy to drink at Christmas, some are looking for something a bit lighter and refreshing – not too summery though, cue this wintery twist on a white wine spritzer.
- 125ml red wine
- 15ml simple syrup
- 15ml lime juice
- Several dashes of bitters
- Soda water to finish
- Garnish: Wedges of lime or lemon
Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add the wine, lime juice, syrup and stir. Top with the soda water and bitters, and add a couple of citrus wedges.