Stand Out with Emerging Spirit Trends

Gin & Tonic Photo Courtesy of Sanctuari Bar

There’s no telling where the next trend will come from, and while not every bar or restaurant can or should try to satisfy every potential customer’s needs, it is worth keeping up.

Take Japanese whiskey for instance. Beam Suntory continues to work hard on making Americans more aware of the whiskies they produce in Japan, and recently gathered dozens of journalists in New York to meet Suntory chief blender Shinji Fukuyo, here to introduce Hibiki Japanese Harmony, with the help of famed chefs David Bouley and Isao Yamada to showcase the whiskies’ food pairing attributes.

Hibiki Japanese Harmony is a blend of at least 10 malt and grain whiskies, aged in five different types of casks, from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries. Like many Japanese whiskies, it is delicate, complex yet easy to like. Whiskey is on fire, especially American and Irish, but there’s a growing interest in quality whiskies from Canada and Japan growing as well. If whiskey is part of your bar or restaurant’s concept, adding some Japanese brands is worth a thought.

Summer is gin time in the US, but most places don’t go the extra steps needed to stand out. The Sanctuari Bar in Houston does, however. Beverage director Laurie Sheddan Harvey showcases there a global selection of 35 types of gin and now features seven types of G&Ts inspired by Spanish serving styles.

“In Houston, you see a lot of bourbon,” she says, “and that’s not a bad thing. I find that people need to warm up to gin, but once they taste its delicious layers of herbs and floral notes, they don’t need too much more coaxing.”

Among the offerings: one made with Aviation Gin, maraschino, crème de violette and pink peppercorns; one with Hendricks Gin, Chartreuse, cucumber ribbons and rose petals; and one with Ford’s Gin, vanilla-jasmine tincture, grapefruit and toasted coriander.

Or perhaps your operation leans organic, green or otherwise health-focused: guests who don’t drink alcohol or need a night off hate only being able to order ginger ale or cola. Protein Bar is trying out an interesting idea. The fast casual health concept serving high protein dishes in Chicago, Denver, and Washington D.C., recently launched kombucha on tap in two flavors at its Chicago location where it tests new menu items.

Rich in probiotics, kombucha fits with Protein Bar’s mission to serve tasty, trend-forward health food to its clientele of busy, wellness-minded patrons. Upon launching this unique offering, Protein Bar becomes one of only a handful of restaurant concepts in the U.S. to offer Kombucha on tap. But who knows? The fermented tea is now a health food and organic restaurant staple, and if wine and cocktails can be served fresh and quick on tap, why not kombucha?

Find out more about all the latest drink trends in the Bartending and Mixology Track and the newest products in the Emerging Brands Pavilion at the Nightclub & Bar Show –

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