by Sheila Swerling-Puritt
The National Restaurant Association recently published the top twenty restaurant menu trends for 2011. Artisanal liquor, local wine and beer, and culinary cocktails made with fresh ingredients top the list. Increasingly sophisticated consumers expect to see new and exciting mixed drinks which entertain and surprise at their favourite restaurant or bar.
Fortunately for those sophisticated bibbers, new trends are sweeping the cocktail world. You may have to wait a while to find the new spirits you'll need to ride the wave (at least until our provincial liquor boards list or reorder these new products), but it's never too early to learn what to do with them when they finally arrive.
According to New Jersey Monthly, the cocktail buzzwords for the year are "coconut water, Bourbon, lavender and hibiscus," with new Sangrias and retro-cocktails based on Gin or Bourbon. Mixological maven Alison Wellner votes for cocktails made from rum, Kentucky Bourbon, and pisco. She notes that "spirits are being consumed on the rocks," not just brown spirits but all colours. She's also a fan of "cocktail popsicles." Beer cocktails are also making a comeback, including such old favourites as the Boilermaker, Black Velvet and Snakebite.
St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur is one spirit causing a sensation in the US and Europe. It's made by macerating elderflower blossoms hand-picked in the French Alps during the late spring. Natural cane sugar and a hint of citrus are added to bring out the subtle elderflower flavour. It offers fresh floral aromas with nuanced pear, apricot and grapefruit zest characters. Try its signature cocktail: 1¼ shots of Elderflower Liqueur, 2 shots of Champagne, and 2 shots of sparkling water. Frankly, when I first tried it neat, I thought this would be a great summer drink by adding it to tonic water or cranberry juice.
Limited supply in Canada means that St-Germain in its distinctive belle epoque bottle, which is individually numbered as well as vintage marked, is currently only available in Ontario. Watch for it to arrive soon into our BC market.
These recipes will help you keep up with the hot new international trends in mixed drinks:
- ½ oz. St-Germain Elderflower
- 2 oz. Pisco ABA
- ½ oz. fresh lime juice
- Pour into an ice-filled shaker.
- Shake well.
- Strain into cocktail glass.
- Garnish with lime wheel.
This is a hit at Boston's Coppa.
Coney Island Strongman
- 1 oz. yellow Chartreuse
- 1 oz. green Chartreuse
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 7 oz. lager beer (chilled)
- Fill cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add yellow and green Chartreuse and lemon juice.
- Shake well and strain into a tall glass.
- Top up glass with beer.
For more information, you can contact Sheila at firstname.lastname@example.org.