Insight from Pernod Ricard UK suggests gin will be a popular festive tipple for the third year running, while hot and martini-style cocktails will dominate menus.
Last Christmas, spirits were a big winner, with 27 per cent of the market (versus 23 per cent the rest of the year) driven by gin, which overtook dark spirits for the first time ever (CGA Christmas Report 2018).
With seasonal serves also set to be key this Christmas – 50 per cent of people like to see seasonal drinks on offer over the festive months – Pernod Ricard is recommending licensees look beyond the simple G&T.
Serves using pink and orange gins can be easily made seasonal with the use of flavours such as blood orange, cinnamon, star anise and peppercorns as ingredients and garnishes, while gin also lends itself to hot cocktails, itself set to be a trend this Christmas.
"One in five UK consumers tried a hot alcoholic cocktail in 2018 and this can be attributed to the rise in popularity of Christmas markets," said PRUK's on-trade channel director, James Bremner.
"Hot alcoholic drinks top the polls of what those willing to try something new would choose and it's really simple to get right."
The company has planned activity for its Beefeater Blood Orange, Havana Club and The Glenlivet around this. Giving away 40,000 enamel cups and 300 urns to support outlets wanting to try hot alcoholic drinks.
Martini-style serves are also tipped for a top Christmas.
The Porn Star Martini, the UK's number one cocktail, accounts for 15 per cent of mainstream cocktail volume (CGA) and the Espresso Martini, now ranked seven in the Top 10 cocktails, up two places since 2017, will continue to be popular. Festive twists on the serve, include the Chocolate Orange Martini or a Chai Latte Martini (recipes below).
"2018 was a good year for the on-trade, however, we anticipate outlets will need to work harder this year to maintain sales and value growth," says James.
"Our mission is to support our customers offer a quality premium drinks experience that will encourage people to come back to their outlet, stay longer and spend more."
Chocolate Orange Martini:
• 30 ML ABSOLUT ORIGINAL
• 15 ML GRAND MARNIER
• 30 ML KAHLÚA
• 5 ML SUGAR SYRUP
• 25 ML ESPRESSO
Chai Latte Martini
• 40 ML ABSOLUT VANILIA
• 20 ML KAHLÚA
• 35 ML CHAI TEA
• 25 ML WHOLE MILK
• 10 ML SUGAR SYRUP