Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

5 Beverage Stars on the Horizon Add pops of color, functional attributes, unexpected texture and deepened flavor to your non-alcoholic (hot or cold) beverages.

Beverages are a natural first stop for emerging flavors and ingredients. Hibiscus, for one, is seeing greater play on drink menus.

Boost awareness in your non-alcoholic (hot or cold) beverages with the incorporation of emerging flavors that connect with broader trends. Add pops of color, functional attributes, unexpected texture and deepened flavor.

These ingredients tap into the proliferation of plant-based eating and are primed with wellness attributes and a story to communicate with your guests. Each has distinct characteristics from which to build upon. They hit multiple consumer cues, drive interest, provide relevancy, and, most importantly, can be cross-utilized across the menu throughout the year. Take one ingredient and showcase it seasonally across juices, flavored waters, smoothies, lemonade, tea and more.

Here, we’ve highlighted five upcoming ingredients on our radar, and beverage application ideas.

Hemp (hearts/seeds or powder)

  • Add chewy texture by sprinkling hemp seeds on top of beverages
  • Dial up the energy and omegas and blend hemp powder or seeds into smoothies
  • Make your own hemp milk or blend hemp hearts into your favorite non-dairy creamer for amplified protein

Hibiscus

  • Grind dried hibiscus into powder and combine with ground sumac and orange peel to rim drink glasses
  • Steep dried petals and add complementary flavors to make cold-brew tea
  • Use a hibiscus simple syrup in artisan sodas, or add to sparkling water, tea or kombucha

Medicinal Mushrooms

  • Power up a morning offering of lion’s mane mushroom coffee
  • Menu a ‘shroom shake: oat milk, dark chocolate, chaga mushroom, maca powder, vanilla
  • Blend roasted tomato, seasonings and reishi mushroom for a thinner viscosity sippable “soup” beverage

Moringa Powder

  • Make moringa gelatin and pulse into lemonade along with ice for a frozen lemonade in summer
  • Enjoy a three-ingredient latte: moringa, local honey, steamed and frothed coconut milk
  • Blend moringa with floral and/or citrus notes for earthy brightness and apple juice for sweetness

Seaweed

Add intriguing natural color of light blue (Blue Majik powder) to deep bluish-green (spirulina powder) to beverages

  • Add a strip of kelp jerky to your brunch Bloody Mary
  • Add shredded kombu to a bone-broth drink, for enriched umami flavor and added nutrients

About The Author

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ROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 20 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and, currently, owning a consulting company, ATE (All Things Epicurean), focused on flavor, menu and restaurant innovation. Based in Nixa, Mo., he has an energizing passion for food and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness.