Mock Trial: U.K. Restaurants Differentiate with Alcohol-Free Cocktails

As they continue to innovate on the menu, U.K. restaurants are looking at their drinks offerings to differentiate their brands. Technomic has seen a 26% year-over-year increase in the number of mocktails, or original adult-focused beverages without alcohol. These potables offer something special for guests who choose not to have a cocktail or for those who just want something a little more interesting than a soft drink or tea.

According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor online resource, the leading flavours in these restaurant originals are, in order: lemon, lime, mint, apple and elderflower. Flavours that have seen an increase in mocktails include passion fruit, raspberry and ginger.

Here are some leading restaurants that debuted new mocktails in the third quarter:

  • Fine-dining independent restaurant NOPI added the Cranberry, Apple & Cucumber, garnished with cucumber ribbons; the Ginger, Orange & Lime Zinger, with pressed ginger, orange and lime juices, mint and ginger ale; the Kumquat & Passion Fruit, combining kumquat, passion fruit, orange and lemon juices, kumquat syrup and rose water; and the Lychee & Grapefruit Cooler, with lychee, grapefruit and lemon juices, mint and sugar.
  • Upscale-casual concept Almeida debuted a handful of new mocktails, including an Apple Mojito with fresh mint leaves, fresh lime, sugar, apple juice and soda water; and Violet Lemonade, made with violet syrup, lemon juice and soda water.
  • Gilgamesh, another upscale-casual independent, this one with an Asian influence, also added appeal to its non-alcohol offerings in the third quarter. The new beverages include the Aruka, with fresh apple juice, elderflower and vanilla syrup; the Euphratis, a combination of lychee, cranberry, sugar syrup and soda water; and The Umbaba, with watermelon, strawberry, raspberry and mango.
  • Casual-dining restaurants adding new mocktails to the menu include bar and grill concept Balans, which offers the Kiwito made with kiwi puree, fresh apple juice and lemonade, and Mexican specialist Chiquito, which added the Gentle Sea Breeze (cranberry and grapefruit juice, a dash of sugar syrup and a splash of soda) and Mexican Limeade (created with fresh lime juice and agave syrup, lengthened with a splash of grapefruit juice and topped with soda).

While all of these recent examples are from full-service restaurant brands, there is also an opportunity for limited-service restaurants, particularly those focused on seasonal, artisanal or chef-driven cuisine. Gourmet Burger Kitchen offers Fresh ‘n’ Fizzy beverages in flavours such as fresh lemon, lime and mint; citrus, elderflower, ginger and lemongrass; and strawberry and elderflower. And Leon’s Lemon, Lime & Ginger Quencher is made from fresh lemon and lime juice, fruit sugar and a touch of ginger and mint “for a little extra kick.”

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Mary Chapman

As Senior Director of Product Innovation, Mary Chapman is responsible for developing new products, content and delivery methods that provide foodservice-industry executives with access to Technomic’s expertise, insight and data. Chapman previously served as Editor-in-Chief at Chain Leader magazine for 10 years, and worked for Restaurants & Institutions prior to that.

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