5 Drinks of Summer

If you're looking to revamp your restaurant, resort, or nightclub's drink menu, our list of five of the most delicious drinks of summer is a great place to start. These cocktails blend a variety of fresh herbs and fruits with boozy favorites like gin, vodka, tequila, and wine for the ultimate blend of summery flavors. From caipirinhas to sangria, these five drinks of summer are crowd pleasers that will also raise your establishment's profits. Keep reading for recipes and directions!

1. Caipirinha

Brazil's national drink, caipirinhas combine lime and a sugarcane spirit called Cachaca for a sweet and tart concoction your guests will love.


Caipirinha Ingredients

Yield:1 cocktail

  • 1/2 quartered lime
  • 1 tsp. white sugar
  • 1 1/2 oz. Cachaca


1. Muddle the lime quarters in a rocks glass.

2. Add sugar.

3. Add ice.

4. Add Cachaca.

5. Stir and serve in a rocks glass over ice.

2. Applejito

Your guests already love the refreshing taste of mojitos, but why not kick it up a notch by adding delicious apple juice?


Applejito Ingredients

Yield: 1 cocktail

  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 oz. bar syrup
  • 10 mint leaves


1. Add the bar syrup to a cocktail shaker.

2. Muddle the mint leaves in the shaker.

3. Add vodka.

4. Add orange juice.

5. Shake and pour the cocktail into a highball glass over ice.

6. Garnish with mint and apple slice.

3. Gin Basil Smash

This unique cocktail blends the savory flavor of basil with lemon juice and gin, so it's perfect for your more adventurous bar guests.

Gin Basil Smash

Gin Basil Smash Ingredients

Yield: 1 cocktail

  • 4 oz. gin
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. bar syrup
  • 10 basil leaves


1. Add basil leaves to a cocktail shaker.

2. Add lemon juice.

3. Add bar syrup.

4. Muddle the basil leaves, lemon juice, and bar syrup together in the shaker.

5. Add gin.

6. Pour the cocktail into a rocks glass over ice.

7. Garnish with basil leaves and lemon twist.

4. Mexican Mai Tai

This tasty drink swaps out rum for tequila and adds an almond-flavored liqueur called orgeat and orange curacao for a unique twist on a classic tiki bar cocktail.

Mexican Mai Tai

Mexican Mai Tai Ingredients

Yield: 1 cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila
  • 1/2 oz. orange curacao
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • Rimming salt


1. Pour the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake them thoroughly.

2. Rim a margarita glass with salt.

3. Shake the cocktail and pour it into the glass over ice.

4. Garnish with a lime slice.

5. Peach Mango Summer Sangria

Fresh fruit, wine, and Grand Marnier mingle together to make this drink a summer favorite that's perfect for serving a crowd.

Peach Mango Sangria

Peach Mango Summer Sangria Ingredients

Yield: 1 pitcher

  • 1 cup Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 cup bar syrup
  • 1/4 cup mint
  • 1 bottle white or blush wine
  • 1 diced mango
  • 2 sliced peaches
  • 1 cup seltzer water (optional)


1. Pour wine into pitcher.

2. Add sliced mango and peaches.

3. Add mint leaves.

4. Add Grand Marnier.

5. Add bar syrup.

6. Stir and serve in stemless wine glasses over ice.

Be sure to stock up on these essential supplies for your bar to craft your own creative cocktails:

Whether you run a poolside tiki bar or a tropical resort, these five drinks of summer are must-have additions to your cocktail menu. In addition to being easy to make, they take advantage of fresh ingredients to wow your customers' taste buds. So, stock up on the ingredients and supplies you need, teach your bartenders how to make them, and start stirring!

Posted in: Recipes | Seasonal | Bars & Breweries | By Nora Fulmer

5 Tips for Outdoor Catering

Now that summer is underway, more and more events are being held outdoors. These warmer months are the perfect time for large events like weddings, picnics, and festivals. Taking on outdoor events can open up a number of opportunities for your catering business, but first, you must be ready to create dishes outside of a typical kitchen setting. Check out our top 5 outdoor catering tips to help you get prepared for your next outdoor event.

1. Get Familiar with Your Outdoor Venue

If you are able, visit the site well in advance of the event, so you can plan your outdoor catering setup and see the resources that are available to you. The venue layout could dictate what equipment you’ll need to bring, and it also could impact your serving plan. For example, if you’re working out of a truck that needs to be parked out of sight from guests, it’s important to know how far your servers will need to carry dishes and other supplies from your preparation space. A long distance or unmaintained path could slow things down and cause a holdup if you don’t account for it ahead of time.

If you are unable to go to the venue before the day of the event, be sure to contact the location’s representative and talk to them about the site plan. Remember to ask about even the smallest details that you might have discovered if you had seen the site. Asking about the terrain, electrical hookup placement, and light levels can easily be overlooked, but these details could influence how you are able to work on the day of the event.

2. Know Your Zoning Restrictions and Have the Required Permits

Especially if you are working in a temporary event space like a closed street or parking lot, there may be zoning restrictions for the event based on your local government’s policies. Zoning ordinances define how particular geographic areas, or zones, can be used and are principally used for differentiating between commercial and residential spaces. In many places, permits are also required for approval from the health department, fire marshal, and other officials. If you aren’t planning the event, make sure that you know what the approved plans are, so you can avoid fines.

3. Plan Your Menu According to the Space

When choosing your menu items, consider how the outdoor conditions could affect what your guests would like to eat. The available space, time of year, and even noise level can factor into what kinds of foods your customers could be looking for. For instance, if your eating area is right next to speakers that are playing music loudly, some patrons may not want to sit for very long and would prefer easily portable food to take to a quieter location. Customers in crowded eating areas may feel the same way. On the other hand, guests at an outdoor wedding are typically prepared to remain seated for a full meal, no matter the noise level or number of people present.

4. Have an Inclement Weather Back-Up Plan

One of the trickiest parts of outdoor catering is the weather. Precipitation can put your meal service out of commission if you are not properly prepared for it. At the same time, do not make the assumption that your event will be cancelled if the weather turns out to be less than ideal. In addition to providing shelter for guests, remember that your equipment will need to be protected. While preparing for your event, take the time to find out if the extension cords and generators powering your equipment can be safely shielded from rain. Many outdoor catering supplies are not completely weatherproof, so cover over your preparation area is a must-have in order to keep them safe. Failing to prepare a contingency plan could leave you scrambling on the day of the event and may hinder your ability to perform your duties.

5. Choose Equipment That is Compatible with the Event Space

Without the comforts of a kitchen, having the right outdoor catering equipment for your space can determine how smoothly your event runs. Below are some key components to consider when deciding how to create your temporary outdoor kitchen.

An Electrical Power Source and Hookups

Having an electrical power source is useful for any refrigerators or holding cabinets you may need for food preparation. Even if the venue provides them, consider having a generator and extension cords on hand to ensure that your equipment can be powered when you arrive on site. When purchasing a generator, make sure that its voltage is compatible with your equipment. You do not want to invest in a generator with a lower capacity than your equipment requires.

Liquid Propane or Natural Gas for Cooking

Decide whether you would like to work with liquid propane or natural gas as your heat source for cooking. Liquid propane is more energy efficient, so you may not need to bring as many heavy tanks with you to your location. On the other hand, natural gas is often more economical than propane. When selecting your power source, do not feel limited by which option your equipment is already set up for. In many cases, you can purchase conversion kits to make your supplies compatible with your selected source. Be sure to arrange for a professional to safely install your conversion kit in advance of your event.

Portable Cooking Equipment

If you cater outdoor events often, you may want to invest in mobile outdoor catering equipment. Supplies like portable outdoor grills and portable gas ranges are easily moved from one site to another. Additionally, many options are designed for simple setup, so you can connect to power and begin cooking.

Catering outdoor events can help your business to make the most out of the warmer months. Before you take on an outdoor event, refer to our top 5 outdoor catering tips to learn about what kinds of supplies and strategies are required for a successful event.

Posted in: Catering Tips | Seasonal | By Christine Potts

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

If you're like me, you can't start your day without a cup of coffee or three. Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the United States, and a report showed that over one-third of the U.S. population drinks coffee daily. Due to its popularity, baristas are constantly experimenting with inventive ways for people to get their caffeine fix.

One of the newest crazes is cold brew coffee, which is when the coffee is brewed at room temperature or in the refrigerator over a long period of time, typically overnight. The result is a rich and full-bodied coffee that is strongly caffeinated without the bitterness and acidity of drip or French press coffee.

Why Cold Brew Coffee?

  • It has a silky smooth flavor. When making hot coffee, the boiling water burns the beans, which gives the brew an acidic and bitter flavor. Cold brew coffee steeps at room temperature or in the refrigerator, so you get a rich and smooth taste without the bitterness.
  • It's strong. Cold brew coffee is, on average, much more potent and caffeinated than drip or French press coffee. Plus, because the coffee is already cold, you don't have to worry about diluting it with ice.
  • Cold brew coffee is versatile. You can make your cold brew concentrate stronger or weaker by adjusting the ratio of coffee beans to water. For a stronger concentrate, use more coffee, and for a weaker concentrate, use more water. You can also serve the concentrate with cream, milk, or water for a lighter flavor. If you prefer a steaming cup of coffee in the morning, you can even microwave the cold brew until it's piping hot.
  • It's cost effective. Our recipe yields 6 gallons of cold brew coffee, which is 96, 8 ounce portions. If you sell each portion for $3, that's $288 in profits from a $15 bag of coffee beans.
  • You can make it in bulk. Because cold brew coffee takes so long to make, you can easily prepare one big batch and portion it out as necessary. One batch of cold brew coffee can stay in the fridge for two weeks.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

One of the best things about making cold brew coffee is that there is a lot of room for adjustments and versatility. For example, you can let your coffee grounds steep in any large container you have on hand. If you're making small batches, preparing cold brew coffee in mason jars can add a fun and interesting twist. When straining cold brew coffee, there are a few different options. You can use several coffee filters, but cheesecloth is the best option. This is because Cheesecloth is very fine and can strain out many small particles that other filters will miss.

Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs. of coffee beans
  • 3.5 gallons of water

Cold Brew Coffee Equipment:

Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

  • 1.

    Grind your coffee beans on the coarsest setting. Your ground beans should be chunky, similar to the texture and size of Kosher salt.


    Place your coffee grounds in a 22 quart container and add 3.5 gallons of water. Stir until the coffee is thoroughly moistened.

  • 3.

    Let your coffee steep for 18 to 24 hours.


    The following day, strain your mixture through a chinois and cheesecloth. Don't press down on the coffee while it is straining because it can add bitterness and acidity. Strain the mixture a second time, if necessary.

  • 5.

    At this point, your coffee is ready to drink, but there will be some silt leftover. If desired, put the concentrate in the refrigerator until the silt settles at the bottom of your container.


    Pour your cold brew concentrate into another container, leaving the silt behind.

  • 7.

    Add water until you have a 1:1 ratio of clean water to coffee. Serve your coffee over ice and add milk, cream, or simple syrup to taste.

One of the best things about cold brew coffee is how adaptable it is, and you should play around with the recipe until you find the ratio and strength that works best for you. This recipe can also make cold brew coffee concentrate, which you can use if you prefer your coffee strong or if you want to make coffee smoothies and frappes. To make a cold brew concentrate, simply skip adding a 1:1 ratio of water in the last step. Just be warned that the concentrate is very strong and slightly bitter, so if you're planning on serving it black, it's best to dilute it with water first.

Posted in: Coffee & Tea | Recipes | By Richard Traylor

How to Pick a Crab

The beginning of summer means the start of blue crab season for the East Coast. While blue crab is popular among many of the Atlantic states, it is just one of the many crab varieties you can choose to serve in your restaurant. Before you start offering it, however, it is important to learn how to eat a crab. This means mastering the technique of “picking,” or removing the crab meat from its shell. If you’re new to serving crab, keep reading for buying guidelines and serving suggestions, and check out our video on how to pick a crab.

How to Pick a Blue Crab

1. Remove the claws and legs by twisting them off at the base. Set them aside.

2. Peel back the apron found on the underside of the shell using a knife.

3. Detach the top shell from the bottom portion.

4. Remove the gills by peeling them away from either side of the body.

5. Use a crab mallet or claw cracker to crack open the claws and access the meat.

6. Enjoy!

What to Know Before You Start Serving Crab at Your Restaurant

Once you’ve decided to include crab on your menu, your first step is to choose what kind of crab you want to serve. Some options may be more accessible to you than others based on where they are found. Additionally, summer is not crab season everywhere, so keep this in mind if you want to serve fresh crab.

Commonly Served Crabs and Their Availability

  • Blue crab is found on the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico from June to October.
  • Dungeness crab can be found from central California up to Alaska from November to July.
  • King crab is found in Alaska and British Columbia from October to January.
  • Snow crab is found in the northern Pacific and Atlantic states from October to May.
  • Stone crab can be found in Florida and parts of North and South Carolina from October to January.

How to Buy Fresh Crabs

Buying live crabs is the best way to guarantee freshness. Once dead, crabs quickly become toxic because bacteria from their digestive organs enters the meat. Coastal locations have markets or wharves that are excellent for buying live crabs. While there, look for suppliers with clean tanks that are free of algae and murky water. Similarly, seek out tanks with aerators that maintain oxygen levels and keep the crabs lively. Sluggish crabs could be sick or close to death, so it is best to avoid selecting them.

Blue Crab

Be sure to choose crabs with all of their limbs. A missing leg would be an unpleasant surprise for your customer who wants to pick a whole crab!

If you can, hold the crabs and squeeze their shells. Meaty crabs have firm shells and heavy bodies. At the same time, a lighter crab with a brittle shell could be immature and contain less meat. Generally, the meat of a crab makes up ¼ of its total weight, so remember to choose crabs that are large enough for your intended portion size.

While female crabs are meatier than males, some parts of the country put bans or limitations on the amounts of females that crabbers can catch. This encourages reproduction and prevents supply depletion. As a result, you may be limited in the amount of female crabs that are available to you. Find out what the restrictions are in your area so you know whether to ask for male or female crabs when you are at the market.

How to Store Crabs Before Cooking

Once you’ve selected your live crabs, chill them as soon as possible until you are ready to cook them. Putting them in an open container of salt water in your refrigerator lets oxygen in and keeps these sea creatures alive.

When buying crab in non-coastal areas, it’s best to find an online vendor with high turnover and rapid shipping. That way, your crabs come to you before they become unsafe to eat. Because shipped crabs are often no longer alive, it is very important to keep them chilled before cooking.

How to Eat a Blue Crab

Cooked Crab

The most popular methods of cooking crab are boiling and steaming. Fully cooked blue crab is bright red-orange in color and has opaque meat. Once it is cooked, you can start picking.

A great crab picking experience includes more than just plain, cooked crab. Seasoning your blue crab with a spice blend can enhance its natural flavor for an extra kick. Also, offering melted butter and lemon or lime wedges gives your guests the opportunity to alter the taste to their preferences. To round out the meal, try providing a simple salad with light dressing and citrus flavors.

Now that you’ve learned how to eat whole crab, you can bring crab picking to your restaurant. Providing your customers with whole crabs gives them a hands-on experience that other dishes can’t achieve. While this meal choice could fall flat if a patron doesn’t know how to access his or her crab meat, educating your servers and hosts can help prevent this. For this reason, serving whole crab is a great way to keep your guests and staff engaged.

Posted in: Seasonal | Kitchen & Cooking Tips | By Christine Potts
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