Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC MayJune 2015 Contents a 95 per cent efficiency rate for saving venues money, and
often venues are not reducing their total cost but are using the
reduction in cost on their mixers to put in more premium spirits."
It is worth the consideration of doing your sums carefully.
The same goes for research. Syrups have been building for
a while, with the flexibility and range that allows for plenty of
creative expression behind the bar.
"Syrups are an essential ingredient in any successful fresh
bar program," says Vikario. "They elevate the flavours of fresh
fruit using small amounts of product and resulting in very
clean, fresh and consistent tasting cocktails."
Simply pair with a premium sparkling water and you're
good to go.
BUILD IT & THEY WILL COME
There are plenty of different theories on how to build a
portfolio of anything, be it beer, wine, spirits, etc. However,
it is rare that a spirit or another alcoholic beverage would be
listed without its brand attached -- how often do you read
"lager" on a menu with no defining brand name?
"As mixers form the basis of many cocktails, the consumer
should be interested in what mixers are being used just
as they would the spirit," says Burr. "Having the brand
proudly and clearly on display will go a long way to building
Likewise, investigate as many different types of flavours
and brands as possible -- each will taste different with
"Look for quality and bottles that will look interesting on
your back bar, and get a range across fruit, spice and nuts/
herbs -- like basil or cola," says Barnett. "Gather up a range
There is an increasing demand from customers to
experience something new and unique when they
enter a bar, and the new world of craft mixers
can open up a whole new flavour field. Pop Soda
is working to capture the flavours of traditional
cocktails and distil them into soda form.
"For the Whisky Jerx Pop Up we looked at
the Zombie Cocktail, took those flavours and
recreated them in soda form," says Bergquist. "It
worked really well, though it worked better with
tequila than the traditional rum."
Vikario notes that handcrafted sodas are
becoming more in demand from customers. Not
only does it open up the flavour possibilities,
with a huge range of syrups paired with premium
sparkling water, it also saves a lot of space.
"With this kind of mixer you will have your
guest rethinking carbonated beverages," he says.
"This is also a good and efficient way to stock
different mixers as many bars do not have enough
storage space anyway."
While the left of centre team over at
StrangeLove have worked hard to make their
flavours both challenging and drinkable, to give
consumers a unique experience that they will then
talk about, according to James Bruce, one of the
"In short, boutique and premium brand
proliferation is becoming increasingly more
prevalent amongst the on-premise mixer
subsector owing to a dismantling of incumbent
flavour paradigms (via an increasingly
sophisticated consumer landscape)," he says.
"And a constantly evolving end-user bias towards
enhancing favourable peer-perception by way of
brand-value identification and transference."
Or as he translates: People are trying new stuff
because they are easily bored and -- to save time
-- use brands/products to show other people who
(or what) they are.
With flavours such as Smoked Cola -- "because
anything worth doing is worth doing smoked"
-- and Blood Orange & Chilli -- "the next best
thing to having real emotions" -- there is instant
potential for a unique consumer experience.
There are even craftier versions of the
ubiquitous energy drink mixer available on the
market. The most recent entrant is local Australian
brand Buderim Ginger, which has recently
expanded out of the Sunshine Coast, and taken
its classic ginger beer, and added guarana for an
and take them back to the bar
and experiment until you find
And don't be afraid to get
really specific on your menu.
Bars like Gin Palace in Melbourne
offer specific pairings of gins
and branded tonics, each with
a particular garnish designed to
enhance the experience.
"It's really about getting
your spirits portfolio right for
your consumer target and then
matching/enhancing the spirits
portfolio with the mixer range,"
says Burt. "It is very much about
creating the story and choices
for your customers."
That said, build your portfolio
carefully, look at your customer
base and their tastes before
making any moves to switch up
your range entirely -- a variety
of price options is always a
"I think bars should look
at what will sell," says Kneale.
"There is no point having great
products if your customer won't
INNOVATE OR PERISH
The Australian bar scene is
nothing if not innovative, with
great bars twisting mixers in
unusual ways. The trend towards
the Spanish style G&T has led
to an array of amazing mixes
with garnish chosen specifically
to the gin and the mixer.
East Imperial's Imperial
Tonic Water is low in
sugar (only seven grams
per serve) and has
only a trace of citric
acid, with bartenders
rum and tequila tonics
and even espresso
at Singapore's East
Imperial Gin Jubilee.
Coming up on the
international scene is
also the retro trend
of long pink gins
(with bitters and
East Imperial Burma
Tonic). Imperial Dark
& Stormy cocktails are
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