Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development
Inspired by the roti stands of Trinidad and Barbados, Bridgetown in Los Angeles offers the Channa and Sweet Potato Roti (left), with coconut chickpea curry, fried cauliflower, spiced turmeric slaw, cilantro and scallions. Yellowbelly in St. Louis serves up tropical cocktails with a fun vibe, including the Piña Colada Dumpster Fire (right), featuring Rum Fire, cacao, blueberry, oat 'milk,' orgeat, lime and mango.
Inspired by the roti stands of Trinidad and Barbados, Bridgetown in Los Angeles offers the Channa and Sweet Potato Roti (left), with coconut chickpea curry, fried cauliflower, spiced turmeric slaw, cilantro and scallions. Yellowbelly in St. Louis serves up tropical cocktails with a fun vibe, including the Piña Colada Dumpster Fire (right), featuring Rum Fire, cacao, blueberry, oat “milk,” orgeat, lime and mango.

By Flavor & The Menu
February 3, 2022

Consider a seasonal rotation of tropical drinks to build strength in the category and allow guests to explore island-style drinks year round. In the spring and summer, use coconut, guava and passionfruit. In winter, lean into similar flavors, but add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, which pair well in both cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.

TONY PEREYRA


Charlie BaggsPurée your favorite roasted chile with mango and fresh citrus, cocoa nibs and a hint of tequila to create a tropical savory system. Tropical flavor systems can be used as a base for a cocktail, a marinade for spatchcocked chicken or a dressing for a quinoa bowl.

CHARLIE BAGGS


Mike LeitnerLean into the signature dishes that differentiate one island cuisine from another, whether it’s Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Bahamas or another tropical destination. Easy explorations start with ingredients like black beans and tostones, flavor enhancers like mojo sauce and dishes like ropa vieja.

MIKE LEITNER


Adam MoorePresenting vivid colors, distinctive textures and a sense of place, island foods can remind diners of a great vacation, offering a brief mental escape during stressful times. A tropical LTO can gently push the boundaries of familiarity, opening the door with a craveable, exotic offering featuring an irresistible ‘Wow!’ factor.

ADAM MOORE


Barbara AkinTropical cocktails have great versatility and need not be limited to just one type of spirit. Rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila or any combination works here. Shareable cocktails for two or more, fun take-home vessels or over-the-top garnishes that make heads turn add to the appeal.

BARBARA AKIN

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