upselling drinks

How to Upsell Beverages with Brunch

What’s the one thing that all the classic brunch beverages have in common? They are all made with food. Add orange juice to champagne, and you have a mimosa. Add peach puree to prosecco, you have a Bellini. And the Bloody Mary, well, that’s essentially a liquid garden. What makes these beverages so exciting (aside from the fact that we’re allowed to drink them before noon) is the simple fact that there are so many fruits and vegetables at our fingertips.

Offer brunch items whose prices include a choice of Bloody Mary, mimosa, or Bellini. It’s a great way to upsell the dish. Also, once your guests taste how delicious your beverages are, chances are they’ll be ordering a second, and a third … The beauty of brunch is that it’s a party that doesn’t have to wait until nighttime. Sunday brunch in particular is a great excuse to enjoy daytime libations without having to feel guilty about it on Monday morning.

An amazing, yet underrated, idea is to create a Bloody Mary bar. Not only is it pleasing to the eye and inviting to the palate, it offers your guests a chance to customize their drinks exactly how they want them. Offer various types of vodka, tomato juices, spices, and garnishes. Consider suggesting different combinations of these ingredients, to give your guests ideas. You can list a Cajun Mary, a Maritime Mary, a Thai Mary, a Steakhouse Mary … there are an infinite number of ways to get creative with this drink.

Vodka can be infused with bacon, horseradish, cucumber, citrus, pepper, or ginger. Different juices can include V8, spicy V8, black pepper V8, vegetable juice, tomatillo juice, or Clamato juice. Garnishes may include anything from pickled okra to a fried plantain to a chicken wing or a bacon-wrapped shrimp. In fact, a great way to upsell these drinks is to offer nicely paired snacks to go with each theme.

For example, a Steakhouse Mary can be made with pepper vodka, spicy V8, and steak sauce, and rimmed with steak seasoning. Pair it with a slider smothered in sautéed onions and smoked Gouda cheese. A Maritime Mary can be made with Clamato juice and horseradish vodka, and rimmed with Old Bay seasoning. Pair that with some cooked shrimp for dipping, or raw oysters for slurping.

Alternative versions of mimosas and Bellinis are composed with various types of bubbly, liqueurs, and juices. Herbs and fresh fruit can be added to heighten the flavors and freshness of the cocktail. Try an “orange you glad you had thyme to make this drink” cocktail. Make a thyme-infused simple syrup. Simmer equal parts water and sugar, and once the sugar has dissolved, remove it from the heat and add fresh sprigs of thyme. Let the flavors steep into the syrup, then add this garden-fresh sweetness to prosecco. Combine with freshsqueezed orange juice and garnish with orange wedges. Another fresh idea is to make a basil-infused syrup, then add it to your prosecco with fresh strawberries or strawberry puree. Garnish with a twist of lime. Let’s call this one a “Strawbasil Surprise.”

Create an engaging and interactive setting by selling a bottle of prosecco or champagne with small pitchers of various fruit juices on the side—orange, cranberry, peach, raspberry, or grapefruit. You may also like to add some frozen berries  as a garnish that adds color and flavor while keeping the drink cool. Something about passing a bottle around makes the occasion seem like more of a party! Check out what’s growing in the garden—then make fun new drinks with it. Your guests will be ever so grateful.