Bacon Milkshakes, Sundaes and Dom PA(C)rignon at Chains?

Jim Beam milkshakes, Hennessy sundaes and Dom Perignon for breakfast - what's behind the news?

1. Who says chain restaurants can’t sell bourbon?

Does it take a bacon milkshake to drive bourbon sales at chain restaurants? American whiskey, beyond the standard Jack or Jim and Coke, has otherwise been notoriously slow-moving on-premise. But maybe Red Robin has a solution. Earlier this fall, the chain rolled out its latest limited time offering - the Beam-N-Bacon Boozy Shake, made with Jim Beam Maple Bourbon. It’s the bacon that's causing a stir, with a social media buzz over the long, candied strip of bacon used as a stirrer. Sprinkled on top are bacon bits. "People love the whole salty and sweet pairing," Donna Ruch, Red Robin's mixologist, said in media reports. The drink is made with caramel and vanilla soft serve. This fall’s Red Robin offerings also included a Fireball Peach Smash – Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, peach purée, lemon wedges and house-made sweet & sour mix.

2. Denny’s Grows Up

One of the country’s favorite breakfast chains (and a long-time favorite of bartenders and servers on the dawn patrol), Denny’s has entered the New York City market, but with a significant twist: the newly-opened unit in lower Manhattan is aiming high, with a full cocktail menu and a bar. It may be the first chain to serve Tommy’s Margarita, the tequila-agave syrup-lime juice version made de rigeur among cocktail know-it-alls by San Francisco’s tequila paradise Tommy’s. Also on the menu: Dark and Stormy made with rum infused with a Chinese five-spice mix, a draft Manhattan Cream Soda, made with bourbon, vermouth, maple syrup, vanilla and acid phosphate; and a Vesper. The big attention grabber, the $300 "Grand Cru Slam," a Grand Slam breakfast for two, served with a bottle of Dom Pérignon and a "bartender high five."

3. How high can you go?

As long as we’re talking about high-priced items, let’s return to The Langham Chicago, mentioned recently for their adult ice cream sundaes laced with spirits at ice cream spot Parlour at the Pavilion. While the sundaes showcasing housemade ice creams and sorbets start at $16, there’s also room to splurge: $1,000 for the Victoria, made with Tahitian vanilla ice cream, Guittard Complexite 70 percent chocolate ice cream, 24-karat gold leaf, caramelized golden peanuts, 24-karat gold dust, dark-chocolate croquant, a hand-crafted chocolate crown, Hennessy VSOP, hot fudge, salted caramel, butterscotch and whipped cream, served in a Wedgwood crystal bowl to keep along with a bottle of 2003 Dom Perignon. Seems like it’s a good month for DP.



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