Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Flavor & The Menu
May 6, 2021

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Rene Denis

Rene Denis

Rene Denis, owner of Chao Pescao, a new Latin-Caribbean concept, wanted to push beyond the ubiquitous Daiquiri when ensuring his restaurant’s cocktails reflected its cuisine. “Many of our drinks are creative interpretations of traditional bar beverages using Latin American spirits and flavors,” he says. Take, for example, the Xocolatl Maize, which lends a Mexican flavor profile to the classic Manhattan.

Denis set aside plans for using a Mexican whiskey once he discovered that an overproof bourbon was a better balance for the elote liqueur and Aztec chocolate bitters—both of which give the drink its Latin flair. “The liqueur called for the heat from overproof bourbon and the bourbon’s vanilla notes complemented the chocolate bitters,” he explains. In an homage to the traditional Mexican champurrado, a beverage based on corn and chocolate, the drink is garnished with a cinnamon stick, which is roasted to bring out its aromas.

About The Author


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.