Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Rob Corliss
June 25, 2022

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Banana is the trending ingredient that has risen above its humble pedigree. Beverage developers are tapping its comforting profile for both non-alc and cocktail menus alike. Layering beverages with fresh banana purées, syrups, bitters or other infusions delivers that familiar-yet-tropical tone that has helped this fruit find stardom today.

Here, we look at 10 approaches meant to drive menu excitement by infusing banana into beverages.


Banana can transform traditional beverages into contemporary stars. Fresh banana or banana purée, “milk” and syrup add flavorsome sweetness and creamy texture to smoothies, shakes and frozen juice blends. Banana’s ability to morph with just about any flavor makes it a must-have beverage ingredient.


  • Iced Banana Key Lime Creamer: Banana “milk” + bullet ice + Key lime egg foam (topper) + crushed graham cracker
  • Flamingo Shake: Guava-banana milkshake + ruby chocolate shavings


  • Banana-Rama Milkshake: Johnson’s triple vanilla bean ice cream, fresh banana, caramel, cinnamon graham cracker, whipped cream, cherry — Cap City Fine Diner and Bar, Dublin, Ohio
  • PB&J Smoothie: Peanut butter, banana, dates, housemade cashew milk, and agave nectar poured over housemade strawberry-chia jam — Nekter Juice Bar, based in Orange, Calif.
  • The Turmeric: Pineapple, carrot, banana, apple, ginger, turmeric — Juice It Up, based in Irving, Calif.


Banana grounds complex flavors in a familiar profile that makes contemporary drinks approachable. Whether injecting subtle or assertive banana flavor, banana “milk,” liqueur and fresh banana treatments add richness to cocktails. A boozy drink with a splash of banana signals fun, nostalgia and escape.


  • Capri Fun: Pineapple juice + banana “milk” + passionfruit purée + coconut rum
  • Lemon Breeze: Banana liqueur + yuzu juice + prosecco


  • BCP-tini: Selvarey rum, Colina Colada horchata, banana liqueur, housemade banana cream pie purée, served with a caramel and graham cracker rim — Emeril’s Coastal, Miramar Beach, Fla.
  • Banana Mojito: Mojito sorbet, mint, caramelized banana — The Bazaar by José Andrés, South Beach, Fla.
  • Fat Elvis (specialty shot): Screwball peanut butter whiskey, black raspberry and banana liqueur, cream of coconut — Daquiri Deck, Sarasota, Fla.


About The Author

Rob Corliss

Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.