Colorful drinks making big splash on beverage menus nationwide
Seasonal foods will be splashed across menus in abundance for the next six months, but what about beverages?
Restaurants are now putting them in their drinks, bringing fresh, exciting flavors, unusual combinations, and even a little nutrition to their guests.
And Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder, Colorado, is going one step further than many restaurants: It’s carbonating many of its fruity cocktails.
“What we wanted to do was bring fruit and vegetables into a soda program,” says owner and beverage director Bryan Dayton. “We had been doing it the old-fashioned way—muddling the fruit with the booze, then pouring it into a glass and adding soda water, and stirring it. That was fun, but it was also a lot of work.”
Last summer Dayton started playing around with a carbonation process. He uses a high-tech double-carbonation system that successfully encapsulates the maximum amount of carbonation and flavor in the bottled cocktails that are then opened tableside.
To make the drinks, Dayton and his team continued to muddle fruits, but in greater volume. They break down the fruit to pull out all the pulp, then fine strain it. “You keep a lot of the mass of the fruit out of it, but you get all of the juice so you make your base,” Dayton says.
This past winter, popular on the menu was the WC and soda (Winter Campari and soda), Kumquat Tarragon (kumquats, tarragon, lemon and a very highly concentrated tarragon simple syrup, fine-strained) with or without Campari.
And now, moving into berry season, a Strawberry Thyme cocktail has recently been added to the menu (strawberries, thyme, pomegranate, molasses, and Pimm’s) with a nonalcoholic version also available.
The drinks—alcoholic and non—are put into old-fashioned metal kegs with soda and then pressurized.