When creating a cocktail menu for a bar or event with a specific theme, there are many approaches. With every bar looking for a marketing angle to attract more customers away from their competitors, especially on event weekends and holidays, a great way is to run themed events, perhaps with the staff in fancy dress and drinks specials. There are many options for how to create a drinks menu for this kind of event, you could spend weeks creating new, bespoke recipes, infusing spirits, testing and balancing each drink and naming them within the chosen theme. Maybe I’m just personally lazy, but I far prefer to take existing drinks, perhaps modify them slightly and give them a new name.

Bespoke Drinks Menu.

Both options have their merits. If you go for the bespoke option, I would limit your specials menu to around 2-3 drinks, for a few reasons. First of all, it will take a huge amount of work to create these new drinks, especially if you want them to be of a good quality. Also bear in mind that when drinks are completely new to your guests they will not know what to expect from these drinks and will need to actually read the menu for these in detail, rather than skimming over for their first drink and spotting a name they like. If you make a drink that’s great and your guests love it, you may find that you end up having to make the drink going forward too, so bear in mind if it has a particular new infusion or specific ingredient that you don’t normally stock, a) you will need to have the right amount of the ingredient for the event itself and b) you may have to stock that same ingredient going forward too.

Modified Drinks Menu

With the modified menu option, you’re free to run a longer menu with less effort – this is a major factor if your bar runs events like these every month with a different theme. It’s also easy to include “based on Sex on the Beach” for example under the name of your drink. You can of course easily change the colours of many drinks without vastly affecting the flavour – for example switching out triple sec for blue curaçao for example, or adding grenadine to sweeten a drink in place of simple syrup. Using this system it should be a fairly simple affair to create a themed menu in an afternoon. Themed menus can be as classy or as cheesy as you choose, of course this will depend on the bar it’s created for. From offering a range of martini options for a James Bond movie release to “Qui-Gon Gin and Juice” for May 4th (Star Wars Day). Don’t forget, you’ll need to let your guests know what’s going on with these events ahead of time, otherwise all your work in creating these drinks will not bring a penny extra into the bar – you might keep a few guests a little longer but you really want to attract guests in who otherwise wouldn’t have been there at all! What has been your most successful theme night in your local bar? Let us know in the comments below. Image Credit: http://www.theretailjudge.com/2013/09/palpatines-force-lightning-cocktail.html

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