To celebrate summer, getting out of the house and seeing family and friends for the first time in what seems like forever, Canadians are raising their glasses at restaurant and bar patios from coast to coast. And their expectations are high.
Are your liquid libations worthy of such an important toast?
Although many have embraced their inner bartender or mixologist during the pandemic, your customers are still thirsty for more, especially if your beverage menu is hitting at least one of the many drinks trends this season and reaching far beyond alcoholic options.
Technomic’s Seasonal Menu Report featuring Canada’s Summer LTO Innovations shows drinks of all kinds are the perfect addition to LTO menus. And with good reason. Limited time offers allow operators to try on some trends and flavours to see what pairs best with their menu and looks perfect on the patio.
Canadians are looking for indulgent treats
Canadians are more than ready to live a little. They want to get out and indulge. Give them the opportunity one sip at a time.
Chic Cocktails – Classic cocktails with a new twist. A Northern Double Old Fashioned using maple syrup and Canadian whisky or a Wild Blueberry Kombucha Martini, and remember to give them a garnish they will never forget. Chic cocktails are a great option for a Date Night package.
Over The Top Milkshakes -You know the ones, where ice cream shoppe favourites explode out of the fountain glass. Banana Split Shake with a pineapple, strawberry and brownie skewer or a Classic Vanilla shake garnished with slice of birthday cake with extra sprinkles.
Premium Pours – Top shelf liquors, the best of the best. Make it an experience by using a specially selected glass.
Homegrown is still trending
In Technomic’s What to Expect in Canada in 2021 they predict there will be no stopping the local trend. There will be continued promotion of local and even hyper-local ingredients to support and celebrate farms and businesses.
Craft breweries, small wineries and distilleries have flourished throughout the last few years and show no sign of losing momentum. Available regionally across the country, these local independents and are now providing a wide selection of beers, ciders, wines and spirits. It’s simple for operators to join the local game with that much choice.
International flavours tempt Canadians
Yes, Canadians love local, but they have also been missing the adventure of international travel. Give them the global taste they crave throughout your menu including your beverage selections.
Technomic’s Summer LTO Innovation report shows that tropical options continue to tempt tastebuds. Guava in mocktails, cocktails and mojitos provide a sweet flavour addition with tropical appeal. Hibiscus gives a sweet-tart flavour profile and a warm colourful presentation. Add some to margaritas and iced tea.
Drinks are full of spirit
Low to non-alcoholic beverages appeal to more than those under the legal drinking age. Providing a choice of spiritless options is a wise choice. But a sparkling water with slices of lemon and lime aren’t always going to cut it anymore.
Many Canadians are looking for beverage options when they dine out that give the experience of imbibing but with none of the side effects. Zero proof spirits or flavoured de-alcoholized spirits are gaining favour in this market providing the depth of flavour customers crave without sacrificing the experience.
Don’t forget umami
Delicious flavour — the rough translation of the Japanese word umami — deserves a place on patio drink menus. Canadians have been adding umami flavours to their beverages for decades (all hail the Caesar!) but umami has skyrocketed in the last few years with such innovations as Bloody Marys and Caesars garnished with pickled beans and crispy bacon, and pushing the boundaries between beverage and appetizer with the addition of lobster, Montreal smoked meat and beef jerky.
Umami is a savoury flavour (as opposed to sweet, sour, bitter or salty) that can be found in fermented foods, seafood, meats, cheeses and some vegetables. It is pouring into bar glasses in surprising ways — from using dashi for infusing spirits to smoked ice cubes to martinis with tomato water.
Help your diners chill out
Temperatures are soaring across the country this summer but aren’t stopping your guests from enjoying the patio. Let them chill with a glass of goodness.
Feeling drained from the uncertainty of the last year, Canadians are turning to smoothies and juices as a way to increase wellness and balance out the chaos. They expect to find functional ingredients and flavour included for an extra boost. Fermented drinks continue to gain popularity, and the push for plant-based options is not dissipating.
Kids also need to celebrate. They will cheerfully raise their glasses full of frozen flavour that brings on the brain freeze.
Pour a little summer fun into each and every glass and you will be the toast of the patio.
Cherry Jammin’ Smoothie
Honeydew & Coconut Frappé
Fuzzy Navel Smoothie
Strawberry Lemonade Blast
Pineapple Caesar Pitcher with Grilled Halloumi
About the Author
Cherie Thompson understands foodservice from field to fork. A B.Sc. in Agriculture and experience in quality control, food science, product development, recipe development/editing, customer service, and teaching as well as owning and operating two independent foodservice operations have given her a unique perspective on the food industry.