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Thomas Henry Strenk

Articles by
Thomas Henry Strenk

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Food

Some like it hot

A lot of places don’t bother with hot drinks because they can be difficult to execute, but it’s something we embrace,” says Bob McCoy, beverage programs liaison at Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks in Boston. “Not only do we offer five or six hot specialty drinks seasonally, but we are ready to prepare anything a guest might call for.”

Food

Raising spirits

"There’s a certain audacity to offering Chartreuse on tap,” says Mike Ryan, head bartender at Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago, because no other bar in town offers the esoteric French liqueur on draft.

The big trend in soft drinks is do it-yourself—an offshoot of prolific mixology programs. With a spritz of seltzer, housemade infusions and syrups do double duty in sodas as well as cocktails, commanding a markup. Even Starbucks is testing artisan sodas as the coffee giant tries to diversify its beverage offerings.

It wasn’t that long ago that Americans were still pronouncing the final T in Cabernet and didn’t realize it was the major grape in Left Bank Bordeaux. Well, maybe they still don’t know a lot about Bordeaux but they can order a Cab (and Merlot) without stumbling. The chart below offers help on other tongue-twisting varietals.

Millennials continue to exert influence on the world of beverages. They like their drinks on the sweet side and they like lots of choices. Suppliers have gotten the message and responded with specialty beverages aimed at that finicky demographic.

Vodka bars, tequilarias, whiskey bars and ronerias are all making their appearance in the marketplace, tying their destinies to the rising stars of these trendy liquors. Such identities are strong points of differentiation. But building a reputation as an expert, purchasing and growing a worthy collection of bottles and managing all that inventory can be challenging.

Summer means a few drinks on the patio, but with an eye toward still fitting in the swimsuit. That’s why low-cal drinks are so popular now, popping up on menus like fresh flower blossoms.

That’s one Gin Rickey coming right up, and I’ll wrap up the spotted dick to go.” For some forward-thinking operators, selling specialty groceries is a unique way to boost the bar tab and make themselves a retail destination as well. But it takes more than just tacking up a few shelves of merchandise to grab those take-away retail sales. How do you make it work?

Not all the excitement in hotel cocktail programs is behind the bar. A number of hotel properties around the country are entertaining and educating customers...

Tea is the most consumed beverage, after water, in the world. Here in the U.S., however, coffee rules. That may change.

Although American craft beer gets most of the ink and blog posts these days, there is a lot more happening in the ale arena. With sales of U.S. domestic macrobrews in decline and imports growing at just 1.3 percent, the big brewers are trying harder, with new products and brand extensions.

Healthy beverages and delectable drinks may seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, but they’re moving closer all the time.

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