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6 Ways to Cash In on the Classic Cocktail Comeback

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Jenny Day
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Cocktail fads come and go, but the true classics always endure the test of time. Whether the allure is being sparked by older generations for the sake of nostalgia or by the curious TikTok culture for posting on social media, the resurgence of classic cocktails is in full swing.

Many bars and restaurants are seeing a big increase in customers ordering of Gimlets, Martinis, Tom Colins, Manhattans, and The French 75. For operators, this could perfect timing. With the rise of labor and product costs, these low-ingredient and simple-to-prepare cocktails could be a nice relief to the pre-pandemic molecular cocktail trends that were both costly and time consuming to create.

With alcohol profits soaring up to 80-90%, cashing in on this latest trend could be just what your bottom-line is looking for. Below are six tips on how to make the resurgence of the classic cocktail work for you.

Have standardized recipes accessible

Drinks can be prepared a variety of different ways. Fluctuating quantities and recipes can make both forecasting and controlling inventory difficult. To remedy this, document specific formulas for staff to follow when it comes to each beverage recipe – even down to the garnish – and keep them available for bartenders to reference if they ever get stuck during their shift.

Furthermore, you should teach bartenders pair the right glass with the right drink. Establishments fluctuate when it comes to how cocktails are composed and presented. Laying out expectations will help meet customer expectations.

Teach staff how to pour drinks accurately

In addition to having written recipes available, be sure to have bartenders use measuring tools. One great tool you should make sure you have is Jiggers. A jigger is a double-sided measuring device bartenders use to increase the accuracy of their pours. A jigger dispenses a perfect 1.5 oz or 1 oz pour, depending on which side the bartender uses.

While many seasoned bartenders prefer to eye measurements, a precise pour is a huge help when it comes to giving the classic cocktail the correct flavor profile. It is also key to controlling inventory and can help prevent monetary damage that is associated with over pouring.

Provide proper POS training

As mentioned above classic drinks come with certain expectations. Yet keep in mind, that some customers will want to put their own twist on the classics. Be sure to show your bartenders not only how to ring up and price drinks based on what the menu offers, but also teach them how to charge for other modifications. Understanding how to add in miscellaneous costs can prevent you from losing money from unpaid extras.

Make sure the bartender asks the proper questions

Asking the correct questions prior to pouring a drink greatly reduces the number of comps. A connoisseur who really appreciates a good cocktail is likely to be disappointed when his old fashioned is made with a house bourbon and ask that it be remade.

On the other hand, a customer who is just experimenting with classics may ask to see a manager when the bill arrives and their beverage included a 15-year old bourbon. Asking the correct question to make certain that expectations are understood prior to pouring is another important factor in saving money in your bar.

Teach great customer service

Bartenders need to know much more than just how to make drinks. Equip your new hires with resources that can make them better at their trade. Conversational skills are what separate mediocre bartenders from the greats. Your bartenders will come across all different types of people during their shift. You should make sure you hire someone outgoing and courteous from the get-go, but you should also teach them soft skills.

Set standards for how long a guest can wait before being greeted. Make sure all bartenders understand the importance of acknowledging guests even if they can’t serve them right away. Most bad reviews come from bad interpersonal interactions, not just simple restaurant mistakes. Making sure customers feel welcomed, understood, and appreciated can reduce the likelihood of bad reviews and improve retention rates.

Appeal to the foodies

Pairing cocktails with appetizer specials or a small tasting menu is a great way to elevate the customer experience. Plus, a special menu creates the perfect combination of increased margins and increased output from the kitchen. Choosing fresh, seasonal fare for these items also has many benefits; not only do in-season foods have higher quality, flavor, and texture, they also cost less due to the sheer volume.

Each restaurant will have varied results depending on the concept and the demographic. Rather than recreating your menu to include short-lived menu items – which can be pricey – try promoting these new items on table tents, special boards, or via QR code to see if it is helping grow your bottom line.


While not every food and beverage fad will be a success, experimenting with what works for your restaurant can lead to satisfied customers, higher profits, and rejuvenated employees. After testing out a different drink and tasting menus, examine your Recipe Analysis and Menu Costing to determine how to properly tweak your recipes to make them the most profitable for you.