Summer is heating up, and your guests are looking for ways to keep cool. Whether they’re basking in your AC or enjoying your patio, seasonal beverages are a great way to keep them chilling in your restaurant. With the right flavors, you can encourage them to order another round, and to come back in the next time they’re thirsty and need to beat the heat.

Health is the number one trend in the beverage space this year. From sugar-free sparkling water to low-calorie cocktails, guests want to wet their whistles without widening their waistlines. Fortunately, this trend has been growing for some time, so it’s easy to draw inspiration from popular ingredients like turmeric and coconut. How does your restaurant incorporate delicious, healthy drinks into the summer menu?


1. Sparkling Water

The explosive popularity of La Croix has shown grocers and restaurant owners the importance of offering healthy alternatives. In the past decade, Americans have begun to give up soda in favor of healthier drinks – that is, drinks with fewer calories, less sugar, and lighter, more complex flavor profiles. Sparkling water (especially sugar-free sparkling water) is the obvious alternative to heavy drinks like Coke and even Sprite. This trend also speaks to the Millennial and Generation Z obsession with choice: why choose between 4 flavors of soda, when you could choose between 20 flavors of sparkling water? Restaurants may not be able to stock 20 different varieties at once, but they certainly can rotate flavors seasonally, encouraging guests to come back in every time the menu changes.


2. Fruit Sweet

Many of your guests are avoiding processed sugar – but they still love sweet treats. Naturally sweeten your cocktails with such fruity flavors as berries, meyer lemons, blood oranges, and even coconut. Some bartenders are taking this trend a step further by offering veggie cocktails: beet, carrot, and even celery juice are gaining popularity. With the proper recipe, you can showcase almost any ingredient and still have guests coming back for more. This isn’t just a great way to impress your most health-conscious diners; it’s also a way to work through inventory and keep your kitchen well-stocked.

3. Light on the Liquor

If you have a liquor license, you know the “right” amount of booze takes a delicate balance. A generous pour will make some of your guests feel welcome; too generous, and they might miscalculate how much they can safely drink in one sitting. Of course, your profit margins also figure into this calculation. As usual, transparency is key in this process. Your bar can advertise low-calorie drinks, which showcase lower-proof liquors served in smaller glasses. You can also capitalize on the growing trend of lighter beers, keeping your guests cool in the hottest months of the year.


4. Drink your Detox

Detoxifying drinks – with or without alcohol – have been gaining traction for the past year. Golden milk and ginger tea might not be the best options in the heat of high summer, but there are countless ways to showcase these healthy spices. Why not include turmeric in your gingery Moscow Mule? Or offer shots of fire cider alongside your most popular whiskey? Settling your guests’ stomachs will make them more likely to order more food – and to come back another day.

In the height of summer, serving delicious drinks is more than an important revenue stream; it’s also a public service. Make sure you offer ample beverage options – including non-alcoholic ones! – to keep your diners hydrated all year round.

top 4 summer drink trends