After a forced break due to the lockdown, part of the mixology world is taking its shakers out once again to delight guests. Everyone is adapting to the health regulations in force and a strong trend is beginning to emerge: the cocktail is now on the pavement, to take away. Let’s take a look.
Social Distancing and Cocktails to Go
• The temporary closure of restaurants and bars during the COVID-19 crisis has shaken up consumer codes somewhat. Among the trends that are emerging, takeaway seems to be a niche that satisfies food lovers in search of gourmet pleasures. Social distancing is respected, so what more could one ask for?
• With the arrival of summer, the takeaway formula has a bright future ahead of it. Cocktails can be sipped in parks, during a walk or just at home. Draught beer is no longer the takeaway star.
• Pre-Batched Cocktails (i.e. cocktails partly or totally prepared in advance) allow us to meet the need for fast service without neglecting the preparation quality. In fact, the most sophisticated cocktails lend themselves very well to batch preparation. Precise measurements of alcohol and other components of the beverage can be carefully planned, as can the storage temperature.
• The same applies to the clarification method. This technique consists of removing undesirable particles from the ingredients of the recipe, leaving the liquid clear, thanks to the use of gelatine, agar-agar, coffee filters or milk. Clarification also allows you to obtain a perfect balance of aromas; the flavours are enhanced. It is then a process that is favourable in every way to the takeaway of cocktails. By filtering all the ‘solids’ from a mixed beverage, the result is perfectly smooth and lasting. That way there is no risk of the cocktail breaking down into separate layers over time. Clarification is perfect for preparing mixtures in advance and offering a speedy takeaway service.
The Importance of Packaging
• The cocktail container is just as important when drinking it to go as it is when tasting it on site. Some materials can even alter the taste of the mixture. The packaging is also an element that supports your brand identity and as such, the positioning you wish to give to your cocktail menu (premium for example).
• Beyond the aesthetic aspect, the practical side of packaging should not be neglected. The proposed format must be easy to carry without being too cumbersome. In the most ‘extreme’ situation, the cocktail can be enjoyed while walking.
• Finally, some customers will appreciate an ecological and responsible approach to the packaging choice.
• Some packaging options are better than others for take away:
- Small glass bottles such as vials may need to be returned.
- Recyclable plastic bottles have the advantage of being lightweight.
- Vacuum pouches are not very aesthetic even if they are branded in your image. They are mainly intended for home consumption.
• Regardless of the type of packaging chosen, certain strict rules must be respected in France concerning takeaway sales:
- The legal name: cocktail based on alcoholic beverage
- The name and address of the manufacturer (name of your establishment)
- Alcohol content per volume of cocktail
- Product volume
- The presence of allergens (if so, specify in detail)
- Use-by date
- Storage required if necessary
- The symbol for pregnant women, advising them not to consume alcohol
- What should be done with the container after use (if recyclable or returnable, specify).
- Concerning the list of ingredients, it is not mandatory but if you wish to list them, it must be done in order of importance, from the most used ingredient to the least used.
Garnishes, ice, juice, soda … the important details.
• A slice of dehydrated citrus fruit, zest, fresh herbs … garnishes invite the consumer to finish their cocktail, leaving little more than a drop. Just like the container, the garnishes play an aesthetic role. Don’t forget that consumers don’t just take pictures of what they eat, but also of what they drink. The more beautiful your creations are, the more likely they will be found on Instagram. This social network can bring you visibility, so don’t neglect the elegance of a cocktail to go.
• For the ice cubes, here too, the aesthetics make the difference. In order to have perfect, transparent and non-white ice cubes, it is sometimes simpler to obtain them directly from specialised providers.
• Fruit juices are not recommended for take-out cocktail recipes unless you prepare them on request. If not, the mixture may separate. Instead, opt for recipes based on spirits, aperitifs, syrups and liqueurs.
• And why not the cocktail kit? Especially appreciated for Iong drinks, the kit formula is both practical and fun. Prepare the batch without a blender and offer it with soda or tonic as a side, depending on the recipe. Remember to provide a handout with your brand image to remind consumers of the instructions to follow to make the cocktail. The step by step process should be simple so that the final recipe is as close as possible to the original recipe. It is also a very good communication tool that works great on Instagram.