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Revamping a specialty drink menu...


Maitre D'Hell
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So we're trying to update our (Asian fusion) specialty & signature cocktail menu, and I'm low on ideas (you can check the current menu at our website, dd33va.com). I want to get away from our current naming conventions - a "insert description" martini, a "insert Asian city" classic cocktail - but also realize that we have to cater to the palate of our guests who very much like traditional tastes.

We do want to keep things interesting - I want to do a guava-based cocktail for sure, and I'd like to work with Qi tea liqueur, but beyond that...so I'm reaching out to you guys here. What are the hot new trends in cocktails?

Bartender @ Balliceaux, Richmond, Va

"An Irish Lie is just as good as the truth."

- Egan Dean, Table 6 cook

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How 'bout a Singapore Sling? Details here for what I believe is Gary Regan's tweaked formulation. Seems to me to be a classic that you really don't see much but definitely something that people have heard of and would surely be curious to try. Fits in with your Asian theme and with the flavor profiles of your current drink menu. And it's tasty to boot.

Christopher

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St. Germain is still 'trendy' at least around here, and it has a very exotic flavor. It also reminds me very much of Alsatian Gewurztraminer, probably my favorite wine to have with Asian food.

Items like that aside, I typically look askance at drink fads. Our new cocktail menu, released just a couple of weeks ago, is fairly conservative, style-wise. Trends come and go. Great drinks are forever.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I noticed you already use Lychee syrup and Lychee on your drink menu, perhaps trying something new with Lychee Liqueur? Perhaps also find something with Midori to add to the menu, japanese company and all.

Another couple crazy ideas might be Longan or Dragon Fruit? Those don't tend to be as commercially available so you may not be able to get any products containing them. Maybe pommelo?

Sorry I don't really have any specific ideas, just some random ideas that perhaps you can build off of.

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I am not currently professionally involved in the industry, but I'd recommend checking out the Tiki thread. I think that many of the drinks listed there would work nicely in the Asian fusion context, and are reflective of the latest cocktail microtrend.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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I think we're far enough along on the cocktail trend to ditch the bog-standard "alcopop" type concoctions: flavored-vodka-based drinks, super-sweet concoctions, etc. I'd go with slightly tweaked classics, and up the whiskey/gin quotient on the list. A French 75 using yuzu instead of lemon (call it a Tokyo 75?) would be a fine champagne cocktail replacement for the flirtini or passion bellini. The ginger fizz drink almost certainly would be better with rum, and possibly with house-made ginger beer instead of just ginger syrup and soda.

But really, there's an endless set of possibilities.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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I noticed you already use Lychee syrup and Lychee on your drink menu, perhaps trying something new with Lychee Liqueur? Perhaps also find something with Midori to add to the menu, japanese company and all.

Another couple crazy ideas might be Longan or Dragon Fruit? Those don't tend to be as commercially available so you may not be able to get any products containing them. Maybe pommelo?

Sorry I don't really have any specific ideas, just some random ideas that perhaps you can build off of.

Lychee Mojitos are quite delicious and easy to create. Buzz a can of lychees and syrup through the blender and strain. Add lychee syrup and less simple syrup to a standard muddled Mojito recipe. Voila! You'll have trouble keeping up with the demand.

If you want to really get jiggy with it, you could substitute any number of flavored rums into the recipe. Knock yourselves out.

Fresh housemade ginger beer goes a long way in a lot of different cocktails. I'm adding a ginger-peach cosmopolitan to my spring cocktail menu. Peach vodka in a standard cosmo recipe with a splash of fresh ginger beer added. Couldn't be easier.

Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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How 'bout a Singapore Sling?  Details here for what I believe is Gary Regan's tweaked formulation.  Seems to me to be a classic that you really don't see much but definitely something that people have heard of and would surely be curious to try.  Fits in with your Asian theme and with the flavor profiles of your current drink menu.

I agree that a Singapore Sling, made well, would be a great addition to your menu.

However, the recipe that was linked to - although it supposedly comes straight from Raffles - is suspect to me.

FOUR OUNCES of pineapple juice?

Yuk!

This reeks to me of a hotel trying to give people a full glass without making production cost of the drink too high.

Trader Vic did this rather more balanced version (paragraph cut and pasted from Tiki Road Trip, 2nd ed.):

Singapore Sling

This drink evolved from entire category of drinks called ‘slings’, that date back centuries. The drink as we know it today was invented circa 1915 (definitely pre-Tiki) at Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The original Raffles recipe has been lost (although they’ll serve you a different Singapore Sling to this day). Early recipes called for mixing equal parts gin, Benedictine, and cherry brandy, and to fill with club soda. By the time Trader Vic got hold if it around 1947, the recipe became more complex:

.5 ounce fresh lime juice

1 dash Angostura bitters

1 ounce cherry brandy

2 ounces gin

Benedictine

Ginger Ale

Add lime, gin, bitters, brandy, and ice into 14 ounce chimney glass, add lime shell, stir, fill with Ginger Ale, add float of Benedictine and sprig of mint.

-James

My new book is, "Destination: Cocktails", from Santa Monica Press! http://www.destinationcocktails.com

Please see http://www.tydirium.net for information on all of my books, including "Tiki Road Trip", and "Big Stone Head", plus my global travelogues, and more!

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How 'bout a Singapore Sling?  Details here for what I believe is Gary Regan's tweaked formulation.  Seems to me to be a classic that you really don't see much but definitely something that people have heard of and would surely be curious to try.  Fits in with your Asian theme and with the flavor profiles of your current drink menu.

I agree that a Singapore Sling, made well, would be a great addition to your menu.

However, the recipe that was linked to - although it supposedly comes straight from Raffles - is suspect to me.

FOUR OUNCES of pineapple juice?

Yuk!

This reeks to me of a hotel trying to give people a full glass without making production cost of the drink too high.

You know, you're right. I wasn't looking too closely at the recipe and I'd noted a marked similarity in *most* of the proportions to a recipe in an article I'd just read by Gary Regan, where he specifically chides that recipe for being heavy-handed with pineapple juice. Thanks for the dialed-back version.

Christopher

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Thanks for all the responses! KatieLoeb, we love the Lychee Mojito idea...I think I've convinced the owner to get rid of the Lychee Martini (it is, admittedly, kinda tired). Mayur, I've been experimenting with the "Tokyo 75"...a great twist on a classic. Doing an upscale Singapore Sling and a real Mai Tai (orgeat, curacao, and rock candy) seems so simple I'm not sure how I overlooked it. I'll post again when we've finalized the new menu!

Bartender @ Balliceaux, Richmond, Va

"An Irish Lie is just as good as the truth."

- Egan Dean, Table 6 cook

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I should mention that the lychee syrup doesn't keep very well unless it's constantly refrigerated/placed on ice, and has a little lemon juice or a tiny bit of citric acid put in to give it some (refrigerated) shelf stability. But it's easy enough to make up a batch twice a week or so on an as needed basis. I just buzzed up a batch tonight that I'm playing with. Works pretty well with gin and lemon or lime so far... :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Thanks for all the responses! KatieLoeb, we love the Lychee Mojito idea...I think I've convinced the owner to get rid of the Lychee Martini (it is, admittedly, kinda tired). Mayur, I've been experimenting with the "Tokyo 75"...a great twist on a classic. Doing an upscale Singapore Sling and a real Mai Tai (orgeat, curacao, and rock candy) seems so simple I'm not sure how I overlooked it. I'll post again when we've finalized the new menu!

What's in the Tokyo 75?? Sparkling sake??

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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