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Several restaurants have recently reworked their cocktail menus in attempt to renew customer interest. Mixologists have been experimenting and adding new twist to cocktails to attract high-margin thirst-quenchers. Whether they are re-vamping the classics or adding a unique ingredients its an attempt to renew customer interest and reinforce a brand’s image.

With bars and restaurants growing their own ingredients, many are not just using them for their dishes, but also muddling them into their beverages. As chefs continue to follow the farm-to-fork method, bartenders are picking up on the farm-to-glass philosophy- using fresh ingredients, working more with chefs and utilizing cooking techniques, spices and unexpected flavors.

As bartenders are getting more involved in designing unique cocktails, store-bought ingredients are being used less. Bartenders across the country are beginning to make their own bitters in order to add even more complexity to their cocktails. Bitters enhance and compliment the flavors of what it’s being added to. The most classic and popular among cocktails is the orange bitters, but by making your own bitters mixologists have more control over the flavors that go into their creations.

The use of bitters is also a way to add flavor with out overloading on calories.  Bethenny Frankel is not the only entrepreneur who found a way to meet people’s desire to have their alcohol and lose weight too. Low-calorie cocktails are a big part of this drink trend- and while Skinny Girl is available on many menus, restaurant chains  and custom blends at independent bars are offering their own low-calorie cocktails. The Cheesecake Factory is one of the chains that has recently introduced low-calorie cocktails under 250 calories. With normal mixed drinks weighing in at 500 calories or more, the demand for lower-calorie beverages is clear.

Mixologist are everywhere are playing with the cocktail- whether it is adding spices, using barreled aged ingredients, local ingredients or reinventing a “lighter” version- unique cocktail options are growing, but not to the extent of kicking the classics off the menu. Shows like Shows like Mad Men, Pan Am, and Boardwalk Empire are influencing everything from fashion to advertising and now…classic cocktails. A resurgence of cocktails like the Manhattan, Gin Martini or the Negroni are brining back Spirit forward- cocktails where you can taste the quality of the spirit because there is no added juices of sodas.

As baby boomers continue to age and as health and diet concerns become more prominent for consumers, this ongoing trend to “change-up the cocktail” s likely to grow. The menus at restaurants that serve local ingredients and low-calorie options in response to menu labeling laws is slowly pouring over to the cocktail menus. Just like how many chefs have caught your attention by reinventing classic dishes to meet your demands- mixologists are doing the same with your cocktails.


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