Alcoholic beverages are an important source of revenue for many restaurants and are useful for improving guest satisfaction, but a number of restaurant chains also are using them as a way to enhance their brand identity.
Darden Restaurants subsidiary Bahama Breeze Island Grill has done that with the launch of a new line of tropical drinks, called “Legendary Island Cocktails,” each with its own back story highlighting its authenticity.
"Bahama Breeze is known for its handcrafted tropical drinks, and adding Legendary Island Cocktails to our extensive bar menu is a great next step in the Caribbean escape experience," Peter Olsacher, the Orlando, Fla.-based chain’s executive chef, said in a press release. "I personally visited many of these exotic locations to learn more about their storied histories."
The new drinks at the 30 locations are:
• The Original Daiquiri — an entirely different drink from the blended frozen Daiquiri that is better known in the United States — made with rum, lime, “fresh squeezed sugar cane pressed daily in house” and ice, shaken and served in a tall glass.
• The Painkiller, invented at the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands, blends dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple, orange and nutmeg.
• The Dark 'n' Stormy, from Bermuda, combines rum and ginger beer.
• The Goombay Smash, from the Bahamas, is made with spiced rum, dark rum, orange juice and pineapple juice.
• The Batida de Coco, a Brazilian variation of the Piña Colada, is made with cachaça instead of rum, as well as cream of coconut and pineapple juice.
• Barbados Rum Punch combines rum, sweet and sour mix, lime juice, grenadine, Angostura bitters and nutmeg.
• From the Hotel National in Havana, Cuba, comes the Havana Hotel Special, a punch made of rum, pineapple, lemon juice and apricot brandy.
• The Parrot Passion, from Puerto Rico, blends passion fruit juice, orange juice, orange liqueur and lemon-infused rum.
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Dallas-based Fogo de Chão, which operates seven churrascaria restaurants in Brazil and 18 in the United States, has highlighted its Brazilian heritage by launching 11 versions of that country’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha.
The classic Caipirinha is cachaça and lime muddled with sugar. Fogo de Chão is offering a regular and premium versions of that drink, as well as versions with strawberries, elderflower liqueur, orange liqueur, melon liqueur, blue curaçao, and pineapple with mint.
The chain has introduced two versions made with an açaí-infused spirit instead of cachaça. The Lemon Blueberry Açaí Caipirinha has amaretto, fresh lime, mint and blueberries. The Strawberry Lemonade Açaí Caipirinha has orange liqueur, lemon-lime soda, lemon and strawberries.
Prices for the cocktails range between $9.75 and $12.50.
Atlanta-based Ted’s Montana Grill recently launched its own line of private label wine that enhances its Buffalo theme. Called Bison Ridge, the line includes Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines made from California grapes. Prices start at $6.50 per glass and $26 per bottle.
In a release announcing the wines, the 44-unit casual dining chain recommended the Merlot with its cranberry glazed roast chicken, bison pot roast, roasted turkey and burgers. It suggested pairing the Cabernet with steak and burgers, and said the Chardonnay went with “a variety of Ted’s appetizers and entrées.”
Build-your-own-stir-fry chain Genghis Grill has launched an array of Mongolian-themed cocktails:
• The Dragon’s Blood is a take on the classic Bloody Mary, made with vodka, Bloody Mary mix and the 87-unit chain’s signature Dragon Sauce.
• The Mongolian Mudslide is made with tequila-based coffee liqueur, vanilla infused vodka, cream liqueur and cream.
• The Thundery Cherry Blast is black cherry flavored rum, pineapple juice, grenadine and lemon-lime soda.
• The Dragon Bowl Blue, made for between two and four adults to share, is dragon fruit-flavored vodka, coconut rum, Blue Curaçao, lime sour mix, lemon-lime soda and pineapple juice.
Prices vary by location, but at the Dallas-based chain’s location in that city’s Galleria, the Dragon’s blood is $7, the Mongolian Mudslide is $6.50, the Thunder Cherry Blast is $6 and the Dragon Bowl Blue is $14.99.