In this article, we have provided tips on making the most of the growing hot drinks market, especially during winter.
Gorgeously warming mulled wine shot through with seasonal spices, creamy hot chocolate with a generous nip of alcoholic bite . . . nothing will have customers flocking to your bar in the depths of winter than a menu of inspirational, indulgent hot cocktails.
A growing trend in hot cocktails
That’s no simple presumption, it’s backed by cold hard evidence. In 2018, the global hot drinks market topped $250 billion, and industry experts have predicted that it will continue to grow by an astonishing 6% every year until at least 2025.
Comfort in a cup
To put this in context, hot drinks are very much part of our way of life. You no doubt find that when the weather turns cold, your customers order more hot drinks and hot cocktails from you. So, it’s no surprise that the comforting elements of a delicious hot drink form the perfect starting point for the creation of exciting, indulgent, new versions.
Comfort foods, no matter which country you live in, make us nostalgic for our childhood, and hot drinks are no exception. Warm bedtime drinks make us feel loved and secure, and in the depths of winter, when the days turn cold and the rain seems to go on for weeks, nostalgia’s exactly what you should be tapping into.
A dash of science
So why do we turn to heart-warming soups and oozing puds in the winter rather than the summer? Well, that’s partly down to how certain chemicals affect the bacteria in our gut. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, which helps us focus and find things interesting, whereas serotonin, sometimes known as ‘the happy chemical’, is a natural mood booster. Lack of sunlight and the reduced physical activity we undertake in winter cause both our dopamine and serotonin levels to fall, leading to, among other things, tiredness and lack of motivation. That’s why we hanker after ways to increase them like winter sun - or quicker, easier and cheaper – deliciously comforting hot cocktails.
Evolution is yet another reason we crave hearty warming drinks in the colder months. In the winter food was typically scarce, so our ancestors sought to eat more to increase their fat reserves and insure against the risk of failing to find food. Even though, these days, supermarkets are piled high with food all year round, we still tend to seek out higher-calorie foods and drinks in winter.
Making the most of this delicious natural trend
All of this is great news for baristas, as you can capitalise on your customers’ natural preference for indulgent hot drinks in winter.
Our Top Tips To Make Hot Cocktails
Here are seven great ways to give them the kind of winter treats they fancy, and give yourself some extra profits.
1. The power of texture
The smoother the drink, the sweeter and more gratifying it seems to taste, even without the addition of cream or other fats. You can create this really easily by whizzing up your ingredients with a spindle mixer or blender.
2. How to use fats and viscosity
Cream, or other non-dairy alternatives, increases the fat-content and viscosity of a drink, adding to its luxury and helping your customers satisfy their evolutionary need to bulk up on their winter fat stores. For tips on the best non-dairy alternatives for particular hot drinks, click here.
3. Create sweetness
Our craving for sweetness can often increase in the winter months, so if you amplify the sweetness on the sweet/sour sweet/bitter spectrum, your customers will thank you. One great way to up the sweetness is to add a shot of Syrup. With over 70 Mathieu Teisseire Syrups to choose from, you’ll find plenty of inspiration. Have a look.
4. Add a dash of alcohol
Traditional winter warmers such as hot toddies and mulled wines are great to serve in the colder months, but you can also amp up the extravagance of any hot drink with the addition of alcohol. Whiskey poured into a hazelnut latte, or orange liqueur drizzled into a hot chocolate, for example, are great places to start.
5. Creative garnishes
Nothing screams indulgence like a huge swirl of whipped cream, sprinkled with chocolate shavings or squishy marshmallows. So, remember the importance of garnishes – especially edible ones – and give yourself permission to go wild. Your customers will love you even more for it.
6. Use interesting glassware
Dramatic ingredients demand dramatic glassware, so if you’re creating a beautiful, layered drink or floating a cloud of cream on a hot chocolate, make sure your creativity can be seen in all its splendour.
7. Invent evocative names
Make your cocktails sound good enough to eat by giving them evocative names. For example, ‘Fireside Toddy’ sounds a lot more appealing than plain ‘Hot Toddy’, and ‘Chocolat St Germain’ conjures up the decadence and sophistication of a Parisian art nouveau bar.
So, create a stir this winter, and see how, with a little creativity and knowhow, you can reap the benefits of a truly inspirational seasonal menu.
Click here to read our other articles. You’ll find plenty of tips and industry insights, as well as ideas and information on how to build your business and increase your revenue.