Making mocktails part of your winter menu

Holiday gatherings are in full swing, and there are often designated drivers and non-drinkers in the crowd, so mocktails are a way to offer something for everyone. Rather than relying on soda, offering those guests a delicious alternative will up their experience – along with your cheque totals.

If this is a beverage category you’ve yet to explore, it’s time you gave it some thought. 57 per cent of Canadian consumers believe that mocktails are a good substitute for the real thing, and with this market projected to grow 5.3 per cent over the next year, here’s an opportunity for you to shine with creative options on your menu.

Joel Gregoire, associate director of food and drink at Mintel, explains why mocktails matter. “No longer do you have that person sticking out with a glass of water or juice – with this category, they’re still able to enjoy the flavour profile of a cocktail, as well as the social moments,” he says. “The category offers a sense of inclusion.”

Creating a menu

It’s a smart strategy to build up your menu for this market to get ahead of the curve. Here are a few ideas to get you started in making and marketing your mocktail menu:

  • Offer hot and cold options, with your twist on favourites like Irish coffee, martinis, Moscow mules, and more.   
  • Look to the alcoholic beverage trends for inspiration and come up with non-alcoholic versions of those hits.   
  • Poll your customers to see what appeals to them so you know if you’re on the right track.
  • Use social media to get ideas and to market your new menu. Platforms like TikTok are flooded with hacks and ways to adapt beverages, so use popular hashtags to promote your mocktails.
  • Keep your menu fresh – literally. Change it up quarterly to incorporate seasonal flavours and ingredients to keep people interested and give your servers something to promote.

RELATED: Trend Watch: miso cocktails, huitlacoche, prickly ash

Giving mocktails the top spot on your menu offers your customers something new, targets a fresh market, raises your cheque totals, and keeps your restaurant on top of the trends.