(Also-Unique tips for marketing your signature cocktail included!)
When you surprise your guests with something like a signature cocktail, they never forget it. It becomes extra special. It has a story. Not only that, but it’s a conversation piece. Yet, it doesn't end there. Guests tell their friends about it, and they share it on social media, drawing more guests to your restaurant, organically.
This reminds me of a time a group of us went to a restaurant called Ironside in San Diego to celebrate a friend's birthday. We all ordered different cocktails. When the drinks arrived, we all had very uniquely looking cocktails. It was a visual delight to glance around the table, checking out each other's drinks. As every drink had a wow factor, one drink specifically was on a whole other level of its own. It was a signature gin cocktail served smack dab center in an ice tray of oysters. Next to the oysters, there was a beautiful pick with three green olives speared. The presentation was stunning as the ice tray platter was bright blue and shell shaped. And the taste of the drink was so delicious and smooth, half of us ordered one as well as the night went on. We snapped many photos that night, and many were of these cocktails. Besides celebrating our friend's birthday, we celebrated these drinks. It was memorable, and a few of us bring it up from time to time after that night of celebrating. We plan on going back soon in hopes of ordering that same signature gin cocktail. The point is, of course, that presentation is truly so important.
Ok, now, are you ready to dive into 3 Ways To Make a Crafty Signature Cocktail?
Let’s get right into it.
You name it. It's yours!
Choosing a name is the fun part. This can be done before you design the drink, or even while you are creating it. However, the name may not come to you until the final reveal. You can literally name it anything. It could be something relating to your brand or a patron's name. Ask your team to put in suggestions, and then everyone votes on which one they like best. You can even do a featured Signature Drink monthly and give every team member a chance to name (and possibly create) a drink.
Think outside the box when adding garnishes or other ingredients. You might want to hit up a local farmers market to get some ideas. Choosing seasonal ingredients brings a fresh, fun twist. Think of what might pair well with the drink and add it in or garnish it with the additional pairing. Such as, homemade crystallized ginger garnish added to a Ginger Mango Martini. Or create a charcuterie stick by stacking olives, salami, and cheeses on a fancy pick and pop it in a Bloody Mary. Challenge yourself. There may be a little trial and error on tastings and visuals, but stick to it. A signature cocktail is a must-have to stand out from your competition. Your thirsty guests will agree.
Charge a little more. You're worth it.
Don’t forget to charge more for the added details. When you add a custom pick, garnish, and all the fun ingredient details to your menu items, the perceived value of it increases. This allows you to charge more. Couple this with increased demand due to organic social sharing, and you've got yourself a winner! Bringing more customers returning for more. When you make the drinking experience elevated, say with dynamic garnishes and clever presentation tricks, people are more likely to become repeat visitors. Which in turn, will keep your profits pouring in. Everyone likes (and needs) exciting experiences that make memories. Make it have a life of its own. Tell its story. You could make it a feature. Have the servers briefly describe it to your guests. Or add the story to a table-top sign or in the menu. Post photos of it on your social media pages. A little effort goes a long way.
So let's get down to it.
Here are 3 different restaurant model options to choose from.
Model 1: Casual (& totally easy)
Step 1: Crack open a White Claw and pour over ice.
Step 2: Add in a splash of juice and a fruit or herb garnish.
Step 3: Name it and well, that's it.
Model 2: Mid-Level (& still pretty easy!)
Step 1: Choose a classic. Such as a Margarita, Martini, Mojito, or Manhattan.
Step 2: Put a creative spin on it by adding your own element, such as a garnish or ingredient that will make it stand out from the classic drink. Add a flavored rim, perhaps? Or top with a fun garnish, such as a grilled citrus slice in a Whiskey Sour with a sugar rim, or a mini churro garnish resting atop a chocolate espresso martini glass, or add a brisket slider to a Bloody Mary. You might even consider serving it in a collectable glass or mug.
Step 3: Last but not least, name it.
Model 4: Fine Dining (a little more effort, but worth it!)
Step 1: Decide what type of drink you would like to create. Drinks can have sweet, sour, salty, buttery, bitter, or alcohol-forward flavor notes. They can be fruity, nutty, smooth, or bold. Think top shelf when choosing ingredients for this drink. Sometimes it helps to plan it on paper.
Step 2: Choose the flavors. Pair a spirit base with a seasonal ingredient or two. Ideally, add at least one juice or mixer. For non-alcoholic drinks, skip the spirit base.
Step 3: Try adding one or two other ingredients. This could be a muddled herb or a local farmed vegetable or fruit, such as a jalapeño. Did you know jalapeños are a fruit? And remember, the more creative the cocktail the more guests will see the value and are willing to pay those premium prices.
Step 4: Choose to serve hot, shaken, stirred, or pour straight over ice.
Step 5: Finish with a nice garnish. This can be simple or unique. Your choice.
Step 6: Name it and behold, your oh-so sophisticated signature drink.
*For mocktails, follow the same directions, however, skip the spirit base. Why not create a fun drink that non-drinkers can feel included in the fun drink presentations? Maybe include both, a cocktail and mocktail version of your signature drink.
Whatever you make, have fun with it. Happy Craft Cocktail Creating!