The majority of beverage menus are likely to include a medley of manhattans and martinis that utilize the traditional trinity of vodka, whisky and gin but what if you’re looking to shake up cocktail hour with something new? Sean Parisi, Vice President of Uncorkd, an iPad application that organizes wine, spirits and beer by various categories, explains that incorporating new cocktail specials into a restaurant menu can be as simple as adding a relatively unknown beverage.
“Replacing a traditional spirit with a unique liquor can completely transform a cocktail into something new and exciting,” says Parisi. “There are many spirits that are popular in other countries, but still gaining traction in the United States.”
Below are five cocktails that expand beyond the bar’s traditional ingredients:
· Caipirinha: Brazil’s national cocktail, the caipirinha is made with Brazil’s native cachaça, a liquor derived from fermented sugarcane juice. To make, simply muddle with sugar and lime and serve over ice.
· Mint Julep: A popular refreshment in the deep south, the bourbon-based libation is traditionally made with only four ingredients. In the bottom of a mixing glass, gently muddle spearmint with sugar and a small amount of bourbon before straining over ice. Fill the rest of the glass with bourbon and add an extra sprig of mint to garnish.
· Soju: A distilled beverage native to Korea, Soju is traditionally made from rice and results in a liquor that is comparable to vodka. Although it is typically served neat, it may be mixed with beer to make the Korean specialty somaek.
· St. Germain: Made from blooming elderflowers found in the Alps, the French-based liqueur has clean floral notes and hints of pear, peach and grapefruit zest. St. Germain can be used in cocktails to add a subtle sweetness such as with the St. Germain Cocktail, a combination of Brut Champagne, St. Germain and club soda.
· Mai Tai: A tropical favorite, Mai Tais are not just for the tiki bars! To make this concoction, blend together white rum, orange curaço, orgeat syrup and fresh lime juice with ice and strain into a glass. Finish by floating some dark rum on top and add your favorite garnishes.
Uncorkd is an innovative, user-friendly program run on the Apple iPad that allows restaurants to display their wine list using the latest technology. Restaurants can update menus in real-time allowing for seamless transition, and wi-fi is not required to allow customers to use the program. Wine, spirits, cocktails and beer can all be categorized to restaurants liking, allowing guests to sort by category, name, price, and in the case of wine, vintage or region. Uncorkd also lists chef and sommelier recommended food pairings for each beverage, allowing for a simpler, more enjoyable ordering experience. Visit them online at www. uncorkd. biz, on Facebook at “Uncorkd”, and on Twitter @UncorkdMenus.