It’s almost summer, the season for outdoor parties, sangria pitchers, and extended brunch hours, making right now the perfect time to execute seasonally-inspired marketing campaigns, event plans, and if related, summer-hire recruiting. Summer can be an especially lucrative season for bars, as people are thrilled to catch up with friends and be outside again. In other words, it’s party time!

Take advantage of the festive, summer vibes and offer a special seasonal cocktail menu. With a bar POS system, adding new menu choices is fast and simple.

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t stick to the usual this summer:  

  1. Restaurants see a 26% uptick in sales with seasonal menus and a 23% increase in average ticket size. 
  2. Customers respond to change. Think of it like the “pop-up effect;” consumers gravitate towards short-term deals out of a fear of missing out (FOMO). 
  3. Your competition is going to offer summer drinks specials. So, don’t get stuck behind your competitors.

We’ve scoured the Web, spoken to in-the-know bartenders, and taste-tested the newest drinks to bring you the best summer cocktail trends of 2019. Check out the list below:

Mexican Spirits

According to top bartender Rob Vrancken, co-owner of Concept Kitchen and Catering, tequila and mezcal are “the summer spirit staples for headlining cocktails.” Tequila is already a favorite for margarita lovers and all its iterations; however, mezcal is still a rather unknown liquor. Its smoky flavor can be an aggressive taste for first-timers, but this shouldn’t stop you from putting mezcal on your bar menu. 

After all, 2019 is the summer of the smoky cocktail (see below). For bartenders who want to flex their agave-spirits muscles, Rob recommends using raicilla and sotol, agave cousins of tequila and mezcal. Both are distilled in small Mexican towns and are very versatile spirits to mix with despite not (yet) being mainstream choices.

Smoke Your Drinks

The whiskey trends of the past few years have prepped taste buds nationwide for smoky liquids, and summer 2019 is the season to jump into this special cocktail trend. We’ll see twists on classic whiskey recipes, like the Smoky Whiskey Sour and the Smoked Old Fashion, and more bartenders with fancy smoking guns behind the bar. Elevate the smoked cocktail trend with a unique pairing of a drink with cigar for a special price.

Locavorian, Seasonal Fruit Muddles

Another summer 2019 cocktail trend, predicted by Rob, is muddled seasonal fruits. The twist? The fruits will vary by geographical region. Focus on your area’s summer produce to create a one-of-a-kind berry or fruit-based cocktail.

Classic Cocktails with an Exotic Flair and Sour Flavors

According to Esquire, this summer’s essential cocktails include classic recipes, like the daiquiri and negroni, and exotic versions of the favorites, such as the Pear Mojito, Mexican Mule, and Basil Gimlet. Other notable tastes running through this delightful list are sour and bitter mixers.

Trends That Have a Long Shelf Life (Literally)

From the Spirits Business, the leading international spirits trade publication, 2019 drinks trendsreveal trends we’ve seen before with the more recent anti-plastic trend. Get inspired by their forecast below:

  1. Sherry-based cocktails from a simple sherry-and-tonic highball to more complex recipes.
  2. Simplified presentations where “the liquid, the ice and the vessel are left to do the talking,”reminiscent of the highball trend from 2017. At your bar, try serving less extravagant garnishes and more reduced, elegant cocktail presentations.
  3. Going compostable; more and more restaurants and bars are banning plastic straws, “reusing ingredients, and repurposing plastic bottles and containers.”
  4. Fermented ingredients, a recurring cocktail trend from 2018. Think: kombucha-based cocktails, tepache, and other fermented ingredients with a long shelf-life.

With the mix of seasonal fruits, smoky notes, and versatile spirits that this year’s cocktails trends list shows us, your bar team and you will have a ball coming up with a summer-time cocktail menu that wows guests.

Brunch is another excellent way of increasing profitability for the long-term, read more on the benefits of offering weekend brunch here