Those of us who beat the drum for more inventive beer cocktails should note with approval, even if the recipes aren’t what we had in mind, the two new ones rolled out by Red Robin recently.
The 475-unit chain is mixing things up with two new beer cocktails served in a limited edition, reusable beer can. Called Can-Crafted Cocktails, the drinks are being touted by the company for taking traditional burger and beer pairings to a new level.
The two – the Coors Light Can-Crafted Cocktail is a mix of Coors Light, ginger liqueur and lemonade topped with fresh squeezed lemon, while the Blue Moon Can-Crafted Cocktail is a combination of Blue Moon Belgian White, Svedka Clementine vodka, orange juice and fresh lime juice – have been in the works for a year, as Red Robin worked to design the reusable beer can idea for the past year. The cans are made of sturdy aluminum and have the look and feel of a actual beer can, and customers will be able to purchase them to take home.
“Souvenir glassware is a big part of Red Robin’s heritage, and it was important to me to create something unique that could only be found at our restaurants,” said Donna Ruch, Red Robin’s master mixologist. “My vision for the Can-Crafted Cocktails was to craft a craveable adult beverage in a one-of-a-kind glass that would catch the eye and act as a conversation piece for our guests. The Can-Crafted Cocktails definitely have that wow factor.”
“Creating unique presentations and appeal is an integral part of food and beverage innovation at Red Robin,” said Denny Marie Post, Red Robin’s senior vice president and chief menu & marketing officer. “Through our Can-Crafted Cocktails, we’re bringing our 21-and-over guests more adventurous, outside-of-the-box mixology. These cocktails have a multigenerational appeal and definitely shine a spotlight on the creativity that made Red Robin famous.”
Given the limits of creativity expected at chains that are fighting to maintain share rather than expand beverage programs, its good news that Red Robin is willing to take this leap. While these cocktails are summer-only, there’s no reason the chain can’t try something similar in the cold weather months. Americans may drink more beer when it’s hot, but there are plenty of robust and tasty brews that are maltier, more potent and more flavorful than the two mentioned above. Many independent restaurants rotate seasonal brews as well as beer-based cocktails on and off the menu, so there’s no lack of inspiration to be found. Let’s hope the Red Robin effort is copied far and wide, if only to get more Americans realizing that beer can also benefit from a little boost of flavor now and then.