Restaurants Transform Soft Drinks into ‘Hard’ Drinks

The big soda manufacturers and their new-age dispensers that let guests customize their drinks to their unique specifications using any of number of flavors are not the only beverage innovators in the business today. Restaurants and bars are wise to consumers’ desire for soft drinks with unique flavor profiles, and have created alcohol beverages that fit the bill.

What follows is an outline of popular soft drinks and the top three flavors that consumers polled for Technomic’s Beverage Consumer Trend Report say are the most appealing for those beverages, as well as a current adult-beverage menu example for each flavor, discovered in MenuMonitor.

Dark carbonated drink: cherry, vanilla, lime

  • Hard Cherry Cola: “If strong but sweet’s your type, this mix of Three Olives Cherry Vodka, Pepsi and DeKuyper Amaretto may be the one you’ve been waiting for” (Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar)
  • Vanilla Bulldog: Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka, Kahlua Coffee Liqueur and Coca-Cola with a splash of Cream. (Ground Round Grill & Bar)
  • Nacional: 10 Cane Rum, muddled lime wedges and bitters mixed with Coke and a floater of Disaronno Amaretto makes a sweeter alternative to the mojito (Elway’s)

Light carbonated drink: lime, cherry, lemon

  • Paloma: Cazadores Silver Tequila, fresh lime and lemon-lime soda (Chevys Fresh Mex)
  • Cherry Limeade: Three Olives Cherry Vodka, fresh lime and Sprite (Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill)
  • Club Special: Skyy Vodka, sweet and sour, club soda and Sprite with lemon and lime juice, served in a salt-rimmed glass (Louie’s Grill & Bar)

Iced tea: (after “sweet tea” and “green tea”) raspberry, lemon, peach

  • Wild Raspberry Sweet Tea: Skyy Raspberry Vodka, home-brewed iced tea and a splash of lemonade (Logan’s Roadhouse)
  • Honey Bee Tea: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and a splash of fresh iced tea (Baker St. Pub & Grill)
  • The Georgia Tea: a refreshing peach tea spiked with rye and a hint of mint, served in a jumbo 16-oz. Mason jar (Brother Jimmy’s BBQ)

Lemonade: tropical, strawberry, raspberry

  • Tropical Lemonade: Pinnacle Tropical Punch and lemonade and cranberry juice mixed over ice (Ground Round Grill & Bar)
  • Strawberry Basil: Absolut Citron Vodka, lemonade, strawberry puree and fresh basil (Burtons Grill)
  • Fallen Angelade: “Lemonade with a mischievous side”; Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, raspberry puree, fresh squeezed lemon, sugar, Sprite, a lemon wheel and raspberries (Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill)

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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