By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

There are some consumer behaviour trends that have had legs for a while now, and look like they won’t run out of steam any time soon; like the resurgence of gin and consumers giving branded calls, rather than asking for generic drinks. But what else will be popular this summer?

We ask various mixologists what their hotels will be serving up behind the bars over the next six months, which spirit categories will soar and what innovations can make your drinks list stand out from the venues around you.

Ice cold

Alcoholic slushies and blended drinks have a reputation for being a little tacky and the stuff of eighteen-year-old birthday parties, but this summer they are making a comeback – and at some of the biggest trend-setting hotel groups in the country.

Kevin Peters, bar manager for Sand Hill Road’s newest Melbourne pub, Garden State Hotel, is ready to lift the reputation of these frozen drinks using some great ingredients at the CBD pub.

“I love frozen drinks – there I said it – but they get a bad wrap! Using fresh ingredients and high quality spirits and liqueurs you really can make some amazing blended drinks.” 

Peters also believes these kind of drinks are great for creating a vibe or transporting you to another environment that’s relaxed and inviting: “I am the biggest sucker for drinks that remind you of a place or a time, such as having a tropical style cocktail you would have on holiday. Let’s just say keep your eyes out for a Miami Vice on our menu.”

Slushies and blended drinks are also expected to be a big hit this spring and summer at The Newport on Sydney’s northern beaches, with Paul Mant, group bars manager for Merivale, suggesting that a section of the drinks menu will be devoted to them.

Just how I like it

The Martini is a classic cocktail that is above the peaks and troughs of trends, but as James Bond has shown, there are various ways it can be made, and each customer has their own preference. So Woollahra Hotel, a Public House Management Group (PHMG) venue, has introduced a Martini List, so that every customer can enjoy one, just the way they like it, with the branded spirits they like and at a suitable price point. The list starts with a ‘Bartender’s Selection’ of five variations on the cocktail, before moving into the customised section, where patrons can pick their own gin or vodka, a specific vermouth, their garnish of choice and which style of martini they prefer – dry, extra dry, wet, dirty, with bitters or an absinthe rinse.

“A modern twist on the Martini classic, our bartenders can now produce unique cocktail offerings for patrons at their request. Gone are the days of the only option being shaken or stirred, now patrons can request everything from their preferred gin to their preferred garnish,” explains Kurtis Bosley, group mixologist for PHMG.

Kate Powell, PHMG’s group marketing and events manager, believes that the martini list also helps to create that boutique bar experience that many patrons are now looking for in pubs.

“The introduction of a boutique bar experience was a natural progression for The Woollahra Hotel, with patrons now able to enjoy beverage options catered to their required taste. PHMG, across all venues, has a focus on premium beverage offerings, however the introduction of the Martini menu, means patrons can now choose from a range of gin and vodka offerings placed at different price points.”

This is an extract from a feature printed in the September issue of Australian Hotelier. Read more on summer trends in spirits here.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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