Fall Strategies For Upgrading Your Beverage Menu

drinks glasses beverage menu

Hard to believe the summer has come to a close. We have been working hard to help our BHS/Weiss customers prepare for the changes that they will be making on their beverage menu. It’s our job to listen and then to respond with ideas on how to help to create a signature with just the right glassware.

We think your beverage menu all starts with the right cube and this year that has actually expanded to include non-fruity popsicles.  An Old Fashioned with a big cube size gives the illusion that less has melted. In fact, the big cube chills the drink faster; every bit of liquor is touching the cube, allowing a consistent temperature throughout.

This year, the fall beverage menu will feature less fruity fare. Our club, hotel and restaurant customers have their eyes on darker based cocktails. This will include more scotch and less vodka. We are also seeing dark rums and flavored tequilas.

There are many anniversaries that will be celebrated at your bar and tables in September. A diamond shaped cube is perfect for any cocktail that requires both ice and champagne. It covers a wide surface area which makes any cocktail look pretty. How about thinking about a Spear shaped cube for Whiskey Highballs or Tom Collins, and other “Grandpa Cool” drinks. Much like the big cube, this long, rectangular cut guarantees each bit of liquid is hitting ice, creating a much colder drink for much longer than regular ice.

We also see a great opportunity for a couple of carry-overs from the summer season.  Flavored ice, and Fruit as ice cubes and Iced glasses (Steelite offers a wonderful icer) and we love the Nick and Nora glasses from Steelite.

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What’s interesting is we are seeing a move towards “healthier” drink fare on our clients’ beverage menu. Think diet vodka- that is savory and spiced- not fruity. There’s even a move towards Gluten free vodkas, a category that is growing rapidly.

This Fall, the move also gets closer towards the end of the plastic straw, which has expanded many of our client’s green and sustainable agendas. We are seeing stainless straws and a number of paper and reusable straws.

Arc Cardinal continues to produce a wonderfully creative portfolio of solutions. They have a series of tiki glasses with interesting shapes for those exotic concoctions from your bar team. I am moving many of my customers away from mason jars this year because they dribble. We are suggesting old-fashioned pressed glasses from Libbey or Arc Cardinal. They feel good in the hand, and work beautifully with darker liquors.

We also find that many of our customers find the Moscow Mule as a perfect carryover to the Fall.  With vodka, ginger “beer,” lime juice, and a lime wedge it creates a refreshing and tangy cocktail that still has a bit of a bite and kick to it, and is also complementary to numerous dishes. There are a number of new “Moscow Mules” tumbler finishes with hammered or gun metal as well as tall and slender Japanese jiggers.

Keep in mind that even though rosé season is over, sparkling wines need to stay on your beverage menu. But we are suggesting to our customers to replace flutes with purpose glasses.

Every Fall seems to bring that trendy cutting edge breakthrough. This year, we are seeing a Mixing Beaker look from Arc Cardinal. They are thin and durable and perfect for savory offerings.  We are seeing our clientele moving towards flavoring the water. This includes coffee or tea in drinks as a base.

Needless to say, with College and Pro football back on your establishment’s TV screens, beer season kicks into high gear. Here are a couple of ideas on how to create a signature. How about an ice bucket with beer in flip top bottles and tags on them?

Beer mugs are no longer in style. They should be replaced by tumblers. It’s a great way to offer a “tasting” which can be done similarly to wine parings. We’ve noticed that most people are done with the 2 or 3 oz. taster and want something more substantial like a 6-oz. small beer.

We are also seeing beer used in cocktails. Keep in mind it’s lighter than spirits and has interesting flavors. Do not forget to support your local breweries – New York State has a ton as do New Jersey and Connecticut. Have a great Fall and remember we are here to help with ideas.

Liz Weiss
Liz Weiss is the President and co-owner of Armonk, NY based H. Weiss Co., a division of BHS Foodservice Solutions. She is known nationally as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on tabletop design. The Michigan State graduate is also actively involved with WPO-Women’s Presidents Organization. Comments may be sent to eweiss@hweiss.net