The Huffington Post ran an article in October titled “The Aviation Cocktail: How It Made Me Love Gin Drinks Forever.” I didn’t write the piece, but I could have—The Aviation recently inspired me to try gin again, too. As a result, I am now intrigued by the botanical spirit—after all but giving up on it some years ago.
The only reason I even ordered an Aviation was because I’d been thinking about the renewed interest in violet-flavored spirits. I spied the classic cocktail—which mixes violet liqueur with gin, maraschino liqueur and lemon juice—on a drink menu and decided to give it a go.
The drink was fresh, sophisticated and surprising: As the Huffpo writer pointed out about the Aviation, “This cocktail has converted more people who thought they hated gin than I can count at this point.”
How do we convince others to taste things they might enjoy but they’re afraid to try, whether it’s gin cocktails, imported whisky, an unfamiliar wine or a new craft beer? As several articles in this issue point out, some beverages require a bit of a hand-sell, with some friendly education, encouragement and the occasional sample.
Some operators take a more hands-on approach. At the inaugural Boston Cocktail Summit in October, presenter Troy Clarke (director of food and beverage for the Royal Sonesta hotel in Cambridge, Mass.) explained how he developed a beer cocktail made with mezcal and IPA for a guest who didn’t drink mezcal or IPA. Clarke said he wanted to bridge the gap for the customer “and show him what he was missing.” It worked—the cocktail was a hit. Sometimes we all need a little nudge to see what we’ve been missing.
You can find more of my coverage from the Boston Cocktail Summit in the November/December edition of Cheers. In the same issue, Sandy Block offers some terrific advice on pairing beer with food—subtle suggestive strategies you could use with a number of situations.
We also cover how operators are marketing—and often mixing—imported whiskey, sparkling wines, and craft beer. And don’t miss the feature on festive cocktails, in which mixologists show off some serious seasonal creativity.
Each issue of Cheers is jammed-packed with content to help you succeed; the same goes for the programming of the upcoming Cheers Beverage Conference. This annual event, which in 2013 will be held in Dallas Feb. 12-13, is a great opportunity to learn from the beverage industry experts presenting in sessions and keynotes and also enjoy some networking face-time with your peers. (Here’s a preview of the Dallas drinks scene.)
On that note, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.