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Seasonal Drinks: Create a Great Hotel Beverage Program

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Creating a seasonal beverage program for your hotel bar is a lot of work but also a value proposition for restaurant brands. Offering seasonal drinks will grab the attention of returning customers and new ones alike. It’s a chance for them to try something different, which will help you increase customer retention

Stocking the mini bar in your hotel with seasonal drinks is recommended as well. However, it’s best to focus on creating an enticing seasonal menu for your bar and restaurant. When it comes to beverages, using specialty coffee, different types of alcohol, high-quality locally-sourced ingredients and glassware, will help your business thrive in today’s market. Try adding CBD beverages to your menu too, if you want even more variety.

Building a great repertoire of seasonal drinks is not easy. For that reason, we’ve decided to put together a list of some of the best tips to guide you in this exciting process! 

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Reasons to Serve Seasonal Drinks 

When you offer seasonal drinks on your menu, there’s a high chance people will want to try them. Why? Because they know that the next time they stay in your hotel the beverage will no longer be on the menu. This makes custom drinks, like coffee with plant-based milk or cocktail drinks exquisite and more desirable. 

Adding seasonal options to your menu is also a great way to use seasonal ingredients. For example, using pumpkin in your cocktails and coffee drinks will bring that warm, cozy feel your customers look for in the colder months. 

Looking into what’s in season throughout the year can be great inspiration for what types of seasonal drinks you can serve. What can be of great help is also hiring or consulting with a cocktails expert. With their knowledge of mixology, they can create unique cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks, or mocktails, for your menu for any occasion or time of the year. They even use the best gin brands.

How to Create a Seasonal Drinks Menu

We already touched on the reasons why you should create seasonal drinks for your menu. If you want, you can even change your wine lists according to the season. However, what will make the most difference are the unique cocktails and cozy warm beverages. 

Here’s how to approach the creation of a beverage menu for different seasons. Whether it affects the hotel minibars or not - it’s up to you. 

Bartenders should be able to mix a classic drink for your customers at any time. But to increase bar profitability, it’s important to infuse some seasonal changes, too!

Key Takeaway: Using seasonal ingredients for the drinks in your hotel bar is going to keep it interesting for your clients. It’s also a great way to show what your area has to offer!

Know What’s in Season

To make it seasonal, you should know what’s currently offered. Even better, find out what’s growing right now in your specific area. This is a great way to get people to experience your region through food and beverage at this specific time of the year. 

Sourcing ingredients from local distributors and farms will cut transportation and 3PL costs and lower your carbon footprint as a business. Helping the local economy is another great advantage of this move. All to bring your customers fresher, higher-quality drinks - it’s definitely worth it!

Here are some examples of seasonal ingredients: 

  • Spring - blueberry, peaches, rhubarb
  • Summer - watermelon, basil, mint
  • Fall - apples, cranberry, pumpkin, squash
  • Winter - grapefruit, pears

Involve Your Staff

If you have a mixologist on your team, you should be working with them closely on this one. They can create amazing recipes for your bar with what’s currently in season. They can help you plan the beverage inventory, for which by the way, it’s best to use hotel technology

In case you don’t have an experienced mixologist, you can still use the knowledge of your bartenders. Talk to them about seasonal drink ideas. Try some things out. 

Listen to what they say about customer behavior. Listening to your hotel staff, and you will get a better understanding of what the customers really want. 

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Try a Holiday Menu 

Winter is not the same as Christmas, right? There are some specific drinks you can offer for the different holidays. Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, and Saint Patrick’s Day, for example, are great holidays to create special drinks and offers for. 

What would be even better is to offer full food and beverage services. Meaning, it would be ideal if you can combine seasonal drinks with dishes with seasonal ingredients. That’s the perfect way for a guest to dive deep not only into the culture and area your hotel’s in, but also into the flavor palette the season has to offer. 

Food can be a great inspiration for beverage recipes and vice versa. Even your kitchen staff can come up with great ideas on what can be used in a cocktail. 

Great ideas can come from everywhere and as a business owner or manager, you should be able to listen and gather them. Don’t dismiss anything before you have a better understanding of what’s in season, what customers like, what drinks go well with different dishes, and what your staff has to say!

Frequently Asked Questions about Seasonal Drinks & Menus

If you are in the midst of creating a seasonal menu, you probably have a lot of questions. We know how hard planning everything can be, especially when you consider what you already have in inventory and have to think about pricing (see: average drink prices at bars).

Here are some commonly asked questions that may help and motivate you to follow the seasons with your bar and restaurant menu!

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What Are Some Common Seasonal Drinks People Ask for? 

Hot chocolate, spiced cider, peppermint mocha, pumpkin spice latte, egg nog, hot buttered rum, hot toddy, mulled wine, and more. These are just some a few cold-weather seasonal drinks that people know and love! There are so many more options for summer cocktails and spring cocktails, as well as holiday special drinks. 

Be prepared for the most common seasonal drinks people may order but don’t shy away from creating your own unique blends. From cocktails with coffee to spiced-up versions of classic cocktails, the sky is the limit. 

You can also combine the seasonality with the concept of your hotel business and create signature drinks. That will really put your hotel ahead of the curve!

How Do I Create Unique Drinks for my Business Based on the Season?

Create unique drinks for your business based on the season by getting seasonal ingredients and the help of an experienced mixologist. Both components are crucial in the creation of quality drinks that will complement the current season. 

A mixologist can give you great insight into what types of ingredients go well with one another. They can also create special recipes for your menu and help you plan the beverage inventory for your bar and restaurant. 

Getting seasonal ingredients is a great approach to take if you want to have something special for a certain period of time. Sourcing locally is also a great way to invite the nature and culture of your region inside and show it to your customers. 

How Often Should I Change the Offerings on the Menu? 

Change the menu offerings four times a year if you want to follow seasonality. If not, at least once per year would be great to change things up. 

Changing the drink and food options on your hotel bar and restaurant menus is signaling clients they can expect something new from you in the future. This way, you will keep returning clients interested as well. 

What Are the Benefits of Offering Seasonal Drinks on a Menu?

Offering seasonal drinks can:

- Showcase fresh, local ingredients at their peak flavor.
- Appeal to customers' desire for variety and novelty.
- Reflect the changing seasons and create a sense of excitement and anticipation.
- Allow bartenders to get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations.

How Often Should a Menu Be Updated with Seasonal Drinks?

The frequency of menu updates depends on several factors, including the length of the seasons, the availability of fresh ingredients, and the preferences of the customer base. Some establishments update their menus quarterly to coincide with the changing seasons, while others may update them more or less frequently.

Can Seasonal Drinks Be Non-Alcoholic?

Yes! Seasonal drinks can be adapted to be non-alcoholic to cater to customers who prefer not to consume alcohol or are designated drivers. Non-alcoholic versions of seasonal cocktails can be created using fresh fruit juices, flavored syrups, herbal infusions, and other non-alcoholic ingredients.

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