Imagine sipping a smooth, exotic, coffee liqueur along with your Colombian supremo coffee after a leisurely lunch or dinner. As a restaurateur, you can generate appreciable revenues by merchandising wisely chosen and attractively priced liqueurs.
It is no secret that many parties today go to a restaurant order their food, possibly a bottle of wine, and after dessert, leave to enjoy coffee and liqueurs at home simply because of prohibitively high prices charged for miniscule portions of liqueurs in restaurants.
Imagine the revenue many parties of four consuming after-dinner liqueurs at
$ 7.00 – a portion and coffee $ 2.50 per cup. For a party it would be a minimum
$ 38.00, which can be, multiplied several thousand times per year. It is incumbent upon the restaurateur to ensure that servers maximize sales at all times. First selecting appropriate foods and beverages pricing them attractively and ensuring that servers know how to offer them can only achieve this.
Obviously, training servers to sell more should include all categories of foods and beverages. Selling, at least in a restaurant and/or dining room setting, means suggesting subtly, effectively and without appearing to be imposing. This requires good judgement, savoir- faire, finesse, applied psychology and salesmanship.
An experienced server knows how to approach a party, and soon can determine what the people want or are willing to spend on extras such as aperitifs, wines, liqueurs, side orders, and special coffees.
People on a budget or simply wanting to have a good meal generally let servers know (by subtle messages or directly) that they are not interested in extras.
Alchemists are credited with the invention of accidentally discovering extraction techniques while trying to convert base metals to gold. They were considered to be the scientists with the know-how of distillation, maceration, and blending. Soon monks, who had vast libraries, a lot of time, energy to research, and the mental capacity to think processes through, got into the act. They were interested in inventing potions for long life. Entrepreneurs on the other hand considered creating love potions to be more important.
Liqueur consumption at one time was much higher than it is now. This can be contributed to a number of factors – less time spent in restaurants, high cost of liqueurs, fear of sugar consumption, and in general more emphasis on wine than other beverages.
There is not much a restaurateur can do to prolong the average time spent per meal, and some managers seem to be more interested in turning tables than maximizing sales per table, except maybe to speed up service. The fact remains that most people, at least for lunch are willing to spend up to an hour; for dinner one-and-a-half hours seems to be the norm.
Exceptions exist, but they are rare and it is up to the restaurateur to cultivate a clientele who has the luxury of time and the funds to enjoy dining to the fullest.
For the sugar your servers can always point out that the sugar in a portion of liqueur would amount to no more than a teaspoon and such an amount is present in most small-serving convenience foods.
Liqueurs can be conveniently categorized into unique and generic. The latter can be extracted from basic ingredients anywhere by skilled people with varying degrees of success. Manufacturers in France, Germany, and the Netherlands are masters of generic liqueurs. Unique liqueurs follow secret formulae and generally are the privilege of a few trusted people. Regardless of advances made in chemical analysis, competitors trying to duplicate famous unique liqueurs have failed to date.
There are several liqueur production techniques – mixing of alcohol, sugar, flavouring agent, colouring matter and glycerine is the least expensive and is often used for mass market, inexpensive products.
Manufacturers use percolation to produce coffee, or cocoa liqueurs, but instead of water use alcohol. The extract undergoes further processing with regard to sugar, colour and texture. There are many generic coffee and cocoa liqueurs, but Tia Maria, and Kahlua stand out.
For citrus fruit liqueurs, rectification techniques are employed. This dictates soaking of dried citrus peels in alcohol and distilling the mass. This is further processed.
Grand Marnier happens to be a citrus liqueur, but instead of pure alcohol Cognac is used;
The peels originate from a secret location in Haiti. It is a unique liqueur based on common ingredients.
For herbal liqueurs, infusion is the preferred method. Herbs are placed in a container and hot alcohol is poured over them. The mass subjected to heat, helps extract more flavour. Chartreuse yellow or green, Izarra, Centerba, Escorial are all medicinal herbal liqueurs much in demand in Central Europe but not in North America.
All are excellent digestives albeit have a medicinal look and flavour. Maceration resembles infusion, except that the alcohol employed is cold. Generally, this technique is employed for fruit liqueurs.
There exist a plethora of generic liqueurs and many countries produce some or all. Some manufacturers i.e. E. L. Bols, Marie-Brizard, De Kuyper are deservedly better known all over the world. Their products are always consistent and possess a depth of flavour others lack. They are a bit more expensive than the competition but better to use in straight shots or cocktails. They make the difference between humdrum and outstanding vibrant cocktails.
A good way to promoting liqueur sales is to have an adequate selection of fine liqueurs and digestives (i.e Cognacs, Armagnacs, single malt whiskies, eaux-de-vie) on a trolley, and roll it to the table if the party seems to be amenable for a round or two of such libations. Servers can also entice patrons by offering them flaming coffees and/or fine coffees with a shot of appropriate liqueur. Always remember, a pampered and happy guest remembers a memorable meal well served, and tips accordingly!
SIDE BAR OF GENERIC LIQUEURS
ANISETTE, BLACBBERRY, BLACKCURRANT, BANANA, ADVOCAAT, APRICOT BRANDY, CRÈME DE CACAO WHITE OR DARK, CRÈME DE MENTHE WHITE OR GREEN, CRÈME DE FRAMBOISE, CRÈME DE BLEUE
(BLUEBERRY), CRÈME DE MOCHA (COFFEE), CRÈME DE NOYEAU
(HAZELNUTS), PLUM LIQUEUR, ROSEPETAL LIQUEUR, PINEAPPLE, ORANGE, MANDARIN, VANILLA, TEA, MELON, FORBIDDEN FRUIT, SLOE GIN, CLOUDBERRY, ASHBERRY, PEAR, CHOCOLATE, CHERRY, CARAWAY SEED, PEACH.
CREAM LIQUEURS: This is new category of liqueurs. The original was invented in Ireland as a result of excess inventories of Irish whiskey and cream. Scientists have been able to stabilize this product, and added chocolate to it inventing a liqueur that has been very successful. This success has prompted many famous and not so famous manufacturers to “ invent “ their versions some of which are fine.
Some of the more famous Cream Liqueurs are: BAILEY’S IRISH CREAM, CAROLAN’S IRISH CREAM, CREAM OF GRAND MARNIER (CRÈME DE GRAND MARNIER), CRÈME DE COINTREAU, VENITIAN CREAM, CREAM OF MAPLE SYRUP ETC)
BENEDICTINE, BENEDICTINE AND BRANDY, CHARTREUSE GREEN OR YELLOW, COINTREAU, GRAND MARNIER, CENTCENQUANTAINAIRE GRAND MARNIER, HAND PAINTED BOTTLE GRAND MARNIER, IRISH MIST, CENTERBA, MILLEFIORI, AMARETTO DI SARONNO, RUMONA, IRISH MIST, DRAMBUIE, IZARRA, ESCORIAL, LIQUORE 83, KROATZBEERE, SABRA, GALLIANO, AMARILLO, DANZIGER GOLDWASSER, GOLDSCHLAGER, MAPLE LIQUEUR, PASSIONFRUIT LIQUEUR, HUBERTUS, ZWACK, LOCHAN ORA.