cranberry/tarragon jam for the base with
added maple syrup or vanilla extract and soda
water or a blend of soda water and purées. For
another Moderne Barn drink garnish, servers
may slice a strawberry into the form of a
flower and freeze it into an ice cube.
Garnish is a game for Patrick Coyne, beverage
manager for Chicago’s famous Palmer House
Hilton and its Potter’s Lounge, which always
has four to eight mocktails on the menu that
sell for $8 each. “Garnish is what makes the
drink unique,” he says. “When it hits the table
during lunch, people look around and see this
awesome-looking drink and it has a domino
effect. People order it and love it.”
Lately, he has been using Key limes rather
than traditional limes, and kumquats rather
than orange slices as garnish.
“It’s all fresh. Everything on the bar is on water
and ice. It smells like a garden when you walk
in,” Coyne says. Part of the fresh intrigue is
carried out through infusions sitting around.
For example, he may refrigerate a jar of
lemonade infused with half a pound of basil for
two or three days, then set it out on the bar for
use in drinks during service. It causes guests to
ask about it, allowing servers to upsell, during
Drink names are the other “billboard” to
draw attention and coax sales. Drink naming
is the biggest challenge, says John Hulihan,
vice president of beverage and service for
San Francisco-based Lark Creek Restaurant
Group, which owns 14 restaurants. He prefers
to give a name that’s a nod to the ingredients
rather than give a drink a proprietary name.
For example, the Kookaburra combines kiwi
purée, kumquat, green tea syrup, coconut
water, fresh lime and soda water. Kookaburra
and kiwi birds are native to Australia, and
kiwifruit is a major crop.
PHOTO CREDIT: Opposite, The Grand Del Mar; above, Moderne Barn
ABOVE: The Peartree Martini at Moderne Barn in Armonk, N. Y.,
is simply fresh pear purée combined with sparking apple cider.
The Ginger’s Island drink combines fresh lemon
juice, ginger simple syrup, pineapple juice and
nonalcoholic ginger beer—hence the name.
In Hawaii at Trump International Hotel in
Waikiki, the drink names reflect the locale, says
Christina Maffei, food and beverage manager.
The nonalcoholic drinks are most commonly
served poolside to those who don’t want to drink
alcohol while lying in the hot sun.
The Island Sunset is made of Perfect Purée
mango purée, caramelized pineapple purée,
pineapple juice, orange juice and grenadine
with a pineapple wedge and cherry garnish.
The Dawn Patrol features peach purée, sour
and tarragon sprigs, with a purple orchid for
garnish. The Polynesian Paradise is made of
guava purée, hibiscus syrup and lime juice,
all topped with ginger ale and a green orchid
Maffei’s culinary background causes her to
look at drinks the same way she looks at food,
seeking a balance between sweet, spicy and
salty, she says. She also is big into using fruit
purées and superfruits, as in the Kona Red
Hawaiian superfruit loaded with antioxidants.
Overall, Hulihan notes that staying in
touch with the chef and what’s going on in
the kitchen, sharing ideas back and forth,
is the foundation and common element in
successful nonalcoholic drink programs.
Gabriel Orta and other mixologists
at Living Room Bar at W South
Beach hotel in Miami Beach, Fla.,
are all about custom-making drinks
for guests. They can simply choose
from this list of ingredients, and
the staff gets busy—adding other
fresh ingredients, as well, to suit
the customer’s taste.
herbs & spices
fruits & vegetables
JODY SHEE, AN OLATHE, KAN.-BASED FREELANCE WRITER AND EDITOR, PREVIOUSLY WAS EDITOR OF A FOODSERVICE
MAGAZINE. SHE HAS 20 YEARS OF FOOD WRITING EXPERIENCE AND WRITES THE BLOG WW W.SHEEFOOD.COM.