Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

FEB 2016

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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18 • SPONSORED CONTENT • FEBRUARY 2016 I t's hard to pinpoint exactly when the "bar culture" began. Perhaps it was in 1988, when Tom Cruise portrayed ace bar- tender Brian Flanagan on the big screen in "Cocktail." Or was it the advent of the cigar craze in the '90s that advanced the bar scene? Certainly the rise of artisanal spirits in the 2000s spurred more interest in creative drinks. And the elevation of the mixologist to celebrity status during the past decade has pretty much confrmed it — bars are now far, far more than the corner "watering holes" of decades past. For the bar operator, this boom in popularity means that there's more competition than ever. But there are also more opportunities. Savvy managers and bartenders are monitoring so- cial media to keep an eye on the latest trends in spirits and ingredients – not just in the standard bar ingredients but for culinary inspirations that might make creative drink ideas. Even the quickest pass through drink-oriented web- sites and social media sites brings up a number of trends such as spiced cocktails, Latin spirits and a renaissance in "neglected" drinks like the sidecar. "Crossover" concoctions that straddle the line between hard and soft drinks — such as hard root beers or hard sodas — are also receiving lots of chatter on social media. Another good place to look for bar trends is the annual "What's Hot" survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association. For 2016, the survey shows that artisanal spirits and craft beers retain their popularity, holding down the #1 spot in alcoholic drink trends. The "locavore" movement so big in the culinary world appears on the beverage side as well, with locally produced beers and spirits (#2) continuing to be popular. The idea of using barrels to age drinks onsite (#3) started with barrel-aged Negronis a few years ago, but is now being used for Manhattans and even cosmopolitans. On the nonalcoholic side, while overall soft drink con- sumption may be down, artisanal or small-batch soft drinks have rocketed in popularity, claiming the top spot in trends. And who'd have thought that good old lemonade (#2) or iced tea (#3) would ever be hip? When they're made "gourmet- style," infused with herbs, vegetables or even fowers, they can be. Whether you're serving trendy or traditional drinks to your customers, the key to a great bar experience is having the right equipment. On the next few pages, you'll fnd a selection of products to help you do just that. n t s s b r r e l - a g e d N e g r o n i s a f e w

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