tropical drink

Sure, It was fun to write about “mocktails”, but all it did was get me craving cocktails. When working on new cocktails for your bar menu, think about what local fruit can you work with, what will be refreshing, and what will pair well with some of the food that will be on your menu.

After much time consuming research done on your behalf (tough job, I know), here are three classic drinks you can easily personalize with local ingredients to add to your menu.

1- Red Sangria

Every restaurant should have a sangria option on the menu. If you only want one on the menu, go for red sangria. A refreshing option for those red wine drinkers who claim to never drink whites, these are also lower in alcohol and make for easy drinking.

Here is the basic, traditional recipe to work off of. There are so many ways to personalize sangria to fit your restaurant and part of the world, so play around with different wine, fruit or mixers.

– 1 bottle of inexpensive red wine, such as Merlot
– 4 oz of brandy
– 3 oz of Simple Syrup
– 1 cup mixed fruit chunks such as seeded oranges, lemons and limes
Combine ingredients and refrigerate until chilled and flavors are blended. Serve over ice.

outdoor seating

2- Mojito

These refreshing cocktails were introduced to the US from Cuba (much like our all-time favorite- the Rum and Coke), and are another cocktail that lends itself to being personalized by your bartender and your location. For example, in Hawaii they’re often on menus made with lilikoi (passionfruit). Think about what is in season in your region and design a special mojito around it.

For a traditional recipe, work off this one.
– 10 fresh mint leaves
– 1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
– 2 tablespoon white sugar
– 1 cup ice cubes
– 1 1/2 oz. white rum
– 1/2 cup club soda

1. Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge in glass and crush the mint and lime with a muddler.
2. Add 2 more lime wedges and sugar and muddle again.
3. Fill the glass with ice, and pour the rum over the ice.
4. Fill the rest of the glass with club soda, stir and garnish with remaining lime wedge.

3- Margarita

Another classically refreshing cocktail and also another cocktail that’s easy to customize with whatever ingredients are local to your restaurant. Their acidity makes these cocktails pair surprisingly well with a wide variety of dishes.

Think about what local ingredients the chef is using and see what type of margarita would compliment those dishes.

Here’s a classic recipe to get you started.
– 1 tablespoon coarse salt for rim
– 4 oz. high quality tequila
– 2 oz. Cointreau
– 1 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice from 2 limes

1. Run lime wedge over rim of glass and dip in salt. Set aside.
2. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, Cointreau and lime juice.
3. Fill with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled.
4. Fill glass with ice and pour margarita into glass. Garnish with lime.

Does your restaurant or bar have a winning cocktail recipe for summer? Get in touch with us and let us know at @getupserve!

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Kristin lives on the West Side of Providence with her wine blogger husband. When she's not co-hosting their monthly wine tastings, she's planning her next travel adventure and daydreaming about Spanish jamón. She can often be found pouring over travel guides at her favorite neighborhood spot, Nick's on Broadway.