Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Rob Corliss
August 31, 2021

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The popularity of hard seltzer makes it ideal for creating hybrids that satisfy a vast range of consumer preferences. Hard seltzer hybrids can be targeted to beer drinkers, wine lovers, health seekers or connoisseurs of everyday easy-sipping classics. Operators can create housemade signature drinks or select from the many ready-to-drink (RTD) options.

Let’s take a look at the opportunities for signature beverage building, combining the qualities of hard seltzer with trend-forward drinks for added complexity, differentiation and flavor.

Hard Seltzer Lemonade

Lemonade is a year-round beverage mainstay. Hard seltzer offers a way to bring in a fun, grown-up summertime sensibility to classic lemonade and further drive beverage sales. Add botanicals or herbals for flair with these hybrid beauties.

Hard Seltzer Iced Tea/Coffee

Brewed black tea, green tea and cascara tea pair well with citrus-based and light-berry flavored hard seltzers, moving it into unique offering like a Strawberry Earl Grey Hard Seltzer Tea. Dark berries, cherry and pomegranate pair well with cold-brew coffee seltzer. Message the hybrid craveablity of beloved caffeinated favorites with the delicious appeal of hard seltzer fruit pairings.

Hard Seltzer Fruit Punch

Punch has a child-like, fun connotation. Paired with hard seltzer, operators can re-introduce punch as a retro hybrid packed with nostalgia for adults. Deliver beverage playfulness by menuing hard seltzer versions of tropical punch, classic fruit punch, cherry limeade or dragon fruit punch.

Hard Seltzer Kombucha

Pairing the flavor of hard seltzer with the healthfulness of kombucha hits on dual trends and reflects that beverage wellness comes in many forms. Consumers already favor lower ABV hard seltzer and kombucha has been thriving with new flavor introductions. Play up the healthier alcohol alternative messaging and elevate the tart/sour taste of kombucha with bright fruit flavors notes from a hard seltzer hybrid.

Hard Seltzer Plus

Operators can appeal to consumers seeking functional refreshment by providing a broader base of hard seltzer “enhanced” drinks. Plus-up these hybrids with energy from yerba mate, botanicals, vitamins or even brewing with alkaline water. Focus on low sugar, low calorie and gluten-free options with these unique and healthful alcoholic drinks.

Hard Seltzer Smoothies

Restaurants can take a page from trending heavily fruited beers and transfer that texture and viscosity over to hard seltzers. Think piña colada or passionfruit-banana hard seltzers that are thick, velvety and smoothie-like. This style of hybrid hits all the trend markers.

Hard Seltzer Beer/Wine

Leinenkugel’s Spritzen, a canned beer with a splash of hard seltzer, provides inspiration for how restaurants can easily create a hybrid. Simply take your establishment’s popular beer or wine and add a splash of hard seltzer for approachable refreshment.


Hard seltzer hybrids are ideal partners with snackables, lunch and brunch fare, like this Pork Shoulder Banh Mi, starring pulled pork, pickled daikon and carrot, along with a spike of Sriracha.Smithfield Culinary

Hard seltzer hybrids are ideal partners with snackables, lunch and brunch fare, like this Pork Shoulder Banh Mi, starring pulled pork, pickled daikon and carrot, along with a spike of Sriracha.



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.