That’s where blueberries come in. Not only do they generate strong consumer interest, but the tiny blue fruit can also liven up any beverage program, from smoothies and juices to mocktails and cocktails.
In some scenarios, blueberry beverages are the ones becoming top sellers. Take Tommy Bahama’s Blue My Mind cocktail featuring muddled blueberries, for example. Though it started as a seasonal beverage, this cocktail was quickly added to the core menu and remains a popular selection year-round due to its customer demand.
Robert Aspaas, a restaurant regional manager and beverage director for the chain, attributes this success to the vibrant flavors achieved by pairing sweet, tangy blueberries with citrus.
“Blueberries are vibrant and fresh, and even though we have a diverse menu, we try to use tropical flavors,” he says. “We blended passion fruit juice with scratch-made lemonade, then added simple syrup and soda for effervescence. It’s been on our core menu for four years, and continues to sell well.”
Aspaas adds that whole blueberries also offer a fun, tactile experience that engages guests.
“People are incorporating things they eat in cocktails,” Aspaas says. “You can find blueberry smashes and mojitos, so we wanted to use blueberries for something different, while keeping that specific mouthfeel, along with the acidity of the fruit.”
Yet it isn’t just the alcoholic side of the beverage menu that benefits from the inclusion of blueberries. Mocktails, or mixed drinks made without alcohol, can also be elevated with blueberries.