Classic cocktails, spicy flavors, and fresh seasonal fruit are among the trends converging on cocktail menus this spring at casual-dining chains, reports Datasssential in its latest “Insider” report.
Cocktail menu flavors causing a splash include apple cider, blood orange, rhubarb, habanero, cucumber, basil, ginger, and beer. Alcoholic drinks that are trending on casual-dining menus include the Paloma and the Michelada, each posting 153 percent increases in mentions, as well as Limoncello, the Gimlet, and the Mojito, each posting increases of 86 percent, 72 percent, and 25 percent, respectively.
Both LongHorn Steakhouse and On the Border Mexican Grill are using Angry Orchard Cider to spice up its spring offerings. LongHorn Steakhouse’s Angry Apple Stagwhich is a "twisted beer cocktail" made with Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider and Jim Beam Red Stag Spiced Cinnamon bourbon. For its Angry Meltdown cocktail, On the Border Grill blends Angry Orchard Hard cider with sweet and sour and topped with a shot of fireball whisky, served on the rocks.
Because some like it hot, On the Border Grill serves up a Michelada Dos XX Lager blended with tomato juice and pasilla spice. P.F. Chang's new Spicy Paloma cocktail features Tanteo Jalapeno Tequila and fresh jalapeno slices, balanced with freshly-squeezed white grapefruit juice.
Tapping into the more gentle offerings of the season, many restaurants are creating cocktails that highlight fruits and vegetables. New cocktails on California Pizza Seasonal Features menu include a Hand-Shaken Agave Mojito and Strawberry Rhubarb Martini. The Huckleberry Hooch Moonshine Cocktail at Outback Steakhouse has the fresh sun-ripened sweetness of Ole Smoky Blackberry Moonshine hand-shaken with muddled seasonal berries, orange, pineapple, and cranberry juice.
Ruby Tuesday's new beverages include a Superfruit Sangria and Blackberry Bramble, a British-inspired drink with Bombay Sapphire Gin, blackberries, lemon juice, club soda, and a fresh sprig of mint. Bonefish Grill's recent additions include a Fresh Cucumber Collins made with Hendrick's, St. Germain elderflower, English cucumber, fresh lemon, and basil.
Carrabba's Italian Grill’s Housemade Limoncello offers sun-ripened lemons zested by hand, sweetened and steeped with Absolut Citron. Two new cocktails featuring the new Housemade Limoncello were also introduced: a Limoncello Gimlet and Raspberry Limoncello Drop made with fresh raspberries.
Bennigan's recently introduced several new cocktail hybrids, featuring a beverage mix. Some of the standouts include a Stout Bloody Mary made with Guinness; Ginger Lemonade featuring Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Pinot Grigio, and Finest Call Lemon Sour topped with ginger ale; and the Habanero Lime Bull, made with SKYY Citrus Vodka and Monin Habanero Lime, and topped with Red Bull.