HOT OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLD-WEATHER COCKTAILS
WARM UP YOUR PROFIT POTENTIAL
With chilly temperatures and sweater weather comes the demand for warming, comforting cocktails. And because mixed drinks are the most profitable beverage you can sell, a winter-weather bar strategy can make a real difference to your bottom line. Traditional temptations like coffee drinks and hot toddies are always popular with guests, but your winter drink offerings shouldn’t stop there. With a little inspiration, you can expand your hot-cocktail menu in deliciously delightful ways. This article has some ideas to get you get started.
APPEAL TO THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON
Hot cocktails seem to have an almost magical ability to set a cozy mood and evoke happy memories. Ciders, winter fruits and other fragrant flavors of the season trigger nostalgia in holiday-minded consumers of all ages. By incorporating these ingredients and warming elements like cinnamon and nutmeg in your hot cocktails, you can easily set a comfortable, celebratory tone.
A QUICK TIP FOR HOT DRINKS
Before we get to the drinks, let's discuss glassware. Specifically, the temperature of the mug you will be serving them in. Hot cocktails are meant to be served warm – if not piping. Pouring them in an ice-cold glass or mug will quickly cool the contents as the drink makes its way from your bar to your customer. You can keep hot drinks hot longer by pre-heating the glass. It's very easy, takes just a minute and there are a few ways to go about it.
- Heat water in a teapot or coffee pot, pour it into the mug and let it sit while you prepare the drink.
- Warm a water-filled glass in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.
- As a last resort, run hot water over the mug.
CARIBBEAN RUM PACKS A SPICY PUNCH
With its subtle notes of vanilla and caramel, Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum is a natural place to begin your hot cocktail exploratory. It pairs beautifully with seasonal spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and can be easily incorporated into a variety of hot libations. Here are two tasty combinations to try.
- Add Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, fresh lemon juice, honey syrup, aromatic bitters and hot black tea to a warm mug and stir. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, lemon or orange slice, and star anise.
- Craft a large-format batch of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum with fresh lime juice, acacia honey syrup, dry white wine and mulling spices (like cinnamon, clove or star anise). Simmer ingredients to just under boiling. Pour into a warm mug and garnish with a clove-studded orange slice.
- WARM UP TO CANADIAN WHISKY
- Our friends from north of the border know a thing or two about fighting the winter chill. Crown Royal is an expert blend of patiently aged Canadian whiskies and is renowned for its smooth finish. Charred oak barrels provide the rich, resonant flavor that make it a go-to ingredient for winter cocktails.
- Combine Crown Royal, hot coffee, maple syrup and aromatic bitters in a warm mug then top with whipped cream and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
- For a large-format batch, muddle orange and lemon zest in the base of a pot and then simmer with Crown Royal, lemon juice, Campari, hot black tea, light brown sugar and a dash of aromatic bitters. Serve in tempered (heated) mugs and garnish with citrus slices.
BEAT THE CHILL THE RUSSIAN WAY
Like Canadians, Russians have a lot of experience with icy winters and frigid cold. For them, vodka helps beat the chill. Founded in 1864 by Piotr Arseneevich (P.A.) Smirnov, Smirnoff is a triple-distilled, award-winning vodka most often served in martinis or summer cocktails. But the recipes below prove it can also hold its own in the hot-drink category.
- Stir Smirnoff Citrus, lemon juice, blood orange juice, chai syrup and hot water in a pre-heated mug. Garnish with a slice of blood orange.
For a large-format batch, simmer Smirnoff, fresh lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, and hot apple cider in a pot. Serve in tempered mugs and garnish with clove-studded lemon slices.
GLOBAL WARMING: HOT SPIRITS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
There’s no shortage of sensational spirits that can be used in hot drinks to deal warm things up in winter months. Whether you’re a fan of Scotch Whisky, Kentucky Bourbon, Mexican Tequila or London Dry Gin, there’s a hot drink recipe to please your palate. Experiment with both coffee and tea and be sure to incorporate dashes and splashes of warming flavor notes. Here are some tasty options to inspire you.
- In a warm mug, combine Johnny Walker Black, fresh lemon juice, vanilla honey syrup and hot rooibos tea. Garnish with a vanilla bean or a lemon twist.
- Stir Bulleit Bourbon, fresh lemon juice, honey syrup and hot black tea in a warm mug. Drizzle a bit of dry red wine over the top of the drink for effect. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or clove spice.
- Fill a warm mug with Don Julio Reposado, fresh lime juice, orange cardamom syrup, fresh grapefruit juice and hot water. Garnish with an orange slice and a cardamom pod or two.
- Into a warm mug add Tanqueray Gin, fresh lime juice, fresh pineapple juice, orgeat syrup, bitters and hot water. Combine all ingredients and garnish with a lime wheel.
- Pour honey and hot black tea in a warm mug and stir to dissolve. Add Ketel One and a splash of ginger beer, stir, then garnish with a lemon wheel.
WARM HOSPITALITY MAKES FOR HAPPIER GUESTS
As we move toward a long, chilly winter, hot drinks are an easy way to add a festive flair to your menu and make your customers feel special. They’re also a satisfying and popular alternative to dessert. And because of their relatively high sales margin, it makes good business sense to promote your hot cocktails as much as possible – in the bar, restaurant and especially on your social media channels!