How to achieve the perfect serve

If you or your bar staff think serving soft drinks just means handing over a bottle and a glass, you could be missing a trick – premiumisation of soft drinks starts with the perfect serve, and we have some top tips for getting it right.

Consumers care about how their drinks are served and if they’re purchasing a premium soft drink they expect everything else to be premium too, from the glassware to the garnish. This is what then allows operators to add a premium price tag.

When it comes to soft drinks you can take a delicious but humble bottle of juice to an elevated offering in a few simple steps.

Firstly, choosing the right glassware is absolutely key to getting the perfect serve. A recent report on glassware by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser stated that “customer perception of an establishment and its drinks can be changed by glassware alone”.

In most good restaurants, bars and pubs, if you order wine it will come in the correct glassware, chosen for shape to optimise the aromas of the wine.

Similarly, if you’re ordering a cocktail you’d also expect it to come in the right glass and you’d be disappointed if it wasn’t – a martini just wouldn’t taste the same sipped from a tumbler.

Even beers and ciders are increasingly being served in a variety of differently shaped, correctly branded glasses, so why should soft drinks be any different?

We always recommend using correctly branded glasses where possible, never serving a drink in a warm, chipped or dirty glass and experimenting with different shapes and styles to change the appearance of a drink, especially if you’re serving mocktails.

Give customers the choice of ice or no ice, and if they choose ice make sure it’s good, large cubes which won’t melt too quickly and dilute the juice.

Garnishes are often underused with soft drinks, but they needn’t be – use them in the same way as you would with a cocktail. Going beyond ‘ice and a slice’ will add to the premium appeal, whether it’s a twist of orange, sprig of mint or even an edible flower.

If you’re serving the drink with a straw, the garnish should be positioned next to it as it both draws the eye to the drink and ensures you get the scent of the garnish when you take your first sip.

Finally, you can’t have a perfect serve without the perfect service. Make sure all of your bar staff are well trained, have sampled all of your soft drinks to be able to make informed recommendations and know how all of the drinks should be served.

Serve your soft drinks with the same care and attention as alcoholic beverages and cocktails and customers will keep coming back for the premium experience.