Devising a cocktail menu is a delicate art. There is so much to think about in order to create the perfect compilation of beverages that customers will take kindly to. What do my customers order? What are the most recent spirit trends? Does the season matter? Should I try something new? There is no success without experimentation so adjusting a cocktail menu can be a simple yet exciting catalyst in the money making process.
Lead Mixologist of Taste by Niche in St. Louis, Kyle Mathis, recently introduced a revamped menu of over 15 new cocktails that feature several new trends from hopped bitters to infused honey and agave that have been flying from behind the bar.
Taste by Niche focuses on hand-crafted cocktails paired with European country fare in a modern speakeasy atmosphere. Located in the Central West End neighborhood, Taste’s exposed brick, warm wood bar, and filament bulb lighting offers an intimate “club-like” feel for cocktail enthusiasts in the 55-seat space with a 30-seat patio. Taste’s bar program is centered on tried and true classics executed to their best. The house original portion of the menu lets us explore our understanding of classics by creating adventurous cocktails with spirits and mixers not found before prohibition.
Mathis explained to Nightclub & Bar that Taste creates a new cocktail menu twice a year. If any less time was given on the menu change, customers would not have the time to explore the entire menu and it would create missed chances to discover what the people actually like.
Taste by Niche believes in experimenting and by changing their cocktail menu, opportunities open up. Not only does changing a cocktail menu give bartenders and owners the chance to explore what their customers are interested in, but it can boost morale and enhance the customer experience by stimulating conversation.
“I see a necessity for cocktail bars to expand their offerings to include a well thought out menu of wine, beer, and non-alcohol options as well, particularly if the bar has great food,” explains Mathis. “I have been favoring low alcohol right now, particularly sherries, Madeiras and vermouths. There is definitely more of a focus on low-alcohol ingredients and non-alcohol beverages right now.”
Here are some of the unique summer techniques Taste by Niche is using to expand their cocktail offerings
Infuse the Sugar over the Spirit: Mathis infuses honey with youthberry tea in the new low-alcohol Wasted Youth cocktail made with Small’s gin, petal and thorn and lemon, while he utilizes housemade Szechuan agave in the Vizzini’s Wit cocktail for a balance of sweet and spicy to the savory North Shore Aquavit with notes of caraway, cumin, and coriander.
Hopped Up Bitters: For an escape to the islands, the boozy Don’t Lean on Me Man cocktail incorporates hopped grapefruit bitters that blend the essence of citrus with the flavor of hops combined with El Dorado 5 year rum, Rhum J.M Gold, lime cordial and maraschino.
Sips of St. Louis: With the restaurant group’s commitment to supporting local purveyors, Mathis integrates St. Louis coffee company Sump Coffee’s cold brew with pepper infused Milagro Silver in the new Winnebago Pin-Up cocktail. For a fruity and refreshing sip of summer, the Holly Golightly cocktail blends local spirit The Big O, a liqueur with exotic spices, tropical sugar cane, a touch of citrus, and freshly cut ginger, paired with Barsol pisco and St. George pear brandy.