It’s a constant struggle to upsell restaurant customers from water, and all the more if you want them to invest in a cocktail.
Increasingly, to get patrons to part with their hard-earned cash, you have to give them not just a drink, but a show. Customers are getting both from the winners of this year’s Best Cocktails in America.
Some of the winning cocktails require an actual show, like the Modernist Herbal Negroni, which is prepared tableside with a Japanese coffee siphon. Others, like the Transformation Cubed, put on a show themselves by changing flavors as customers drink them.
Then there’s the Non é Acqua, which looks like an innocent glass of water, but stops the show by smacking your palate with bright citrus, earthy herbs and tequila.
In the past, we’ve categorized the Best Cocktails in America by their base spirit, but a great cocktail is more than the sum of its parts. Whether you start with gin or whiskey or house-infused bathtub gin is not as important as what ends up in the glass. So this year, we simply picked great cocktails, and noticed that each of them pointed to a specific trend that we were seeing in the drinking world.
As you peruse the beautiful and delicious winners of this contest, you’ll also be able to reflect on the broader culinary forces that helped to bring them about. We hope they will inspire creativity behind your bar.