Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

A Dozen Ways: Building a Buzz-Worthy Beverage A dozen trending ingredients making a splash today

This Pink Moon Shandy from Omni Hotels & Resorts makes a refreshing summer sipper, sweetened with orange-blossom honey water.
PHOTO CREDIT: Omni Hotels and Resorts

10 Alternative Milks

Consumers are exploring nut milks and other plant-based milks, thanks in part to their growing presence in retail and their inherent good-for-you qualities. Grocery shelves are now stocked with niche products like macadamia milk, pistachio milk and even an alternative milk made from yellow peas. Coffee and smoothie shops have certainly helped propel these ingredients forward, where they star in drinks like hazelnut-milk horchata and pistachio-milk latte, both found at Chicago’s Oromo Cafe. It’s a natural next step that forward-thinking drink developers are leveraging that momentum and exploring nut and other plant-based milks’ unique textural and flavor attributes.

  • Turmeric Latte: Organic turmeric and ginger tea steamed with housemade cashew milk or almond milk, sweetened with Tahitian vanilla-bean syrup and ginger syrup; topped with cinnamon and turmeric powder
    —Little Pine Restaurant, Los Angeles
  • Almond Palmer: Cold-brew coffee, almond milk, lemon syrup
    —Stand Coffee, New York
  • The OG Ice-T: White whiskey, Thai tea, guanábana, amaro, coconut milk and tapioca boba
    —E.P. & L.P., West Hollywood, Calif.
Coconut milk has surged onto the beverage scene. Here, it melds with white whiskey to enliven the OG Ice-T, at E.P. & L.P in West Hollywood, Calife.p. & l.p.

Coconut milk has surged onto the beverage scene. Here, it melds with white whiskey to enliven the OG Ice-T, at E.P. & L.P in West Hollywood, Calif

11 Pears

Perfumed and creamy, with a lovely, lingering freshness, pears are bringing their unique profile to forward-leaning beverages across the country. Pears also have enough backbone that they can carry bigger flavors, tempering them with sweet tones. The fruit offers bartenders various forms that showcase a range of beverage-building abilities, from a smoked pear purée in a bourbon-spiked cocktail at Miami Beach’s Yardbird Southern Table & Bar to a heat-laced tequila drink called Pear Necessities at Oro in Raleigh, N.C., with El Jimador Silver, Cointreau, pear and jalapeño.

  • Pear Flute: Vanilla bean pear nectar, Champagne
    —The Left Bank, York, Pa.
  • So It Appears: Aperol, lemon juice, prosecco, vanilla syrup, soda water, muddled pear slices
    —August Laura, Brooklyn, N.Y.

12 Coffee

Coffee-beverage innovation displays its potential as a premium marker, as well as coffee’s ability to play either the lead or supporting character. With cocktails, coffee is a trending ingredient, giving both a strong foundation and a much-appreciated jolt to boozy sipping. At Ration & Dram in Atlanta, the Rise ’n Shine cocktail stars cold-brew coffee, Troy & Sons moonshine, Amaro Averna and vanilla syrup. In nonalcoholic beverages, well-chosen coffee types offer a clever platform for innovation, from cold-brew and smoked to Millennial-friendly flavored coffees.

  • Puerto Rican Handshake: Espresso, rum, Cynar and strawberries
    —Bluegold, Huntington Beach, Calif.
  • Express Yo-Self: Vodka, Vittoria espresso, New Orleans coffee liqueur
    —E.P. & L.P., West Hollywood, Calif.
  • Coffee Soda made with Russ & Daughters’ signature roast
    —Russ & Daughters Café, New York
At Datz, in Tampa, Fla., the Perky Peach features silver tequila, peach liqueur, coffee-honey syrup, cold-brew coffee and orange bitters. A cold-brew ice sphere completes the drinkDatz

At Datz, in Tampa, Fla., the Perky Peach features silver tequila, peach liqueur, coffee-honey syrup, cold-brew coffee and orange bitters. A cold-brew ice sphere completes the drink

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About The Author

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Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.