Keeping the foodservice equipment marketplace up to date with the latest menu and concept trends.


Coastal-Inspired Cocktails

Creative cocktails remain on trend, as an increasing number of operators continue to incorporate ingredients reminiscent of the coast or beach.

Seafood-Infused Alcohol

Yes, seafood-infused alcohol is now a phrase. “We did actually include ‘shellfish and seafood-infused alcohol’ in our spring 2023 trends hot list,” says Mike Kostyo, trendologist and associate director, publications, at Chicago-based Datassential.

This includes beer infused with seafood-related ingredients. “We also see saline being called out more often as well as some cocktails that use Asian-inspired ingredients like fish sauce or shrimp chips as a garnish. That coastal lifestyle overall has also been having a moment, from the consumers who were looking for those seaside getaways during the pandemic to the ‘coastal grandmother style’ trend seen on social media.”

Tropical daquiris and mai tais remain popular at Coastal Kitchen & Daquiri Bar in Bay Shore, N.Y.. Images courtesy of Tyler DiFeboTropical daquiris and mai tais remain popular at Coastal Kitchen & Daquiri Bar in Bay Shore, N.Y.. Images courtesy of Tyler DiFebo

Growth of Seaweed-Based Cocktails

A growing number of higher-end sushi restaurants now incorporate seaweed (nori) and kombu (kelp) into craft cocktails. A few examples:

The Scholar of Okayama

Gin or vodka, nori- and kombu-infused dry vermouth, brine

from Momotaro

Nori Jones

Mezcal, nori, Ancho Reyes Verde, demerara, bitters

from Uni

Umi Old Fashioned

Japanese whiskey, nori, kokuto from Etaru

Source: Datassential

Coastal Kitchen 2 Photo courtesy of Tyler DiFeboThe Café Amburana at Coastal Kitchen & Daquiri Bar

Concept Close-Up: Coastal Kitchen & Daquiri Bar

Coastal Kitchen & Daquiri Bar in Bay Shore, N.Y., draws inspiration from the travels of Anthony Tartaglia, who is president of the restaurant’s parent company Coast Verde Hospitality. The emphasis on coastal was to avoid being pigeonholed solely as a Caribbean restaurant, says Tartaglia, who adds that Coastal Kitchen has U.S., Caribbean and European influences

Tropical daquiris and mai tais remain popular. “The tiki train is driving very hard right now,” Tartaglia says. “We’re still offering these, but it’s not our focus, since so many people are doing it.” Menu items range from Korean and Hawaiian dishes to a New England lobster roll.

One reason Tartaglia believes the coastal cocktail trend remains popular is that it connects people to their vacations. “It’s not super specific and plays to customers’ imaginations,” he says. “It could include limoncello from Italy or spritz cocktails. Other ways to look at it are with ingredients like tequila, mescal or rum, which remind people of coastal destinations.”

The drink menu includes cocktails such as The Soggy Dollar Painkiller, which stems from the Virgin Islands and combines rum, pineapple, coconut and orange with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Lawyers, Guns & Money 2.0 is another popular cocktail; it includes a coastal-aged rum blend, Haitian rhum clairin, lime, passionfruit, coconut, agua de jamaica, macadamia nut bitters, mint and nutmeg. “We’ll have a drink of the night or of the moment to try them out. If people post about it [on social media], it may earn a permanent spot on our menu.”

According to Tartaglia, the secret of a good coastal cocktail is high-quality liquor and ingredients as well as the proper tools and equipment. “We use shaker tins, strainers,
blenders and frozen drink machines,” he says. “We can batch a big concoction so it’s super consistent.”

Garnishes have come a long way for these cocktails, as well. “Instead of just mint, we’re using basil and different herbs, along with fresh fruit,” Tartaglia says. “We’re also smoking glasses and infusing ingredients in ice. Because this is a broad concept, anything goes.”