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The Five Things You Need to Craft a Perfect Signature Drink

Wednesday October 31, 2018 by Dana Schlingman, Marketing Representative, Promotion Specialist @ Barista Pro Shop

Katie’s Tips, tricks and surefire ways to incorporate signature drinks into your menu that your baristas will enjoy making and your customers will order again and again!

Elaborate coffee orders still remind me of that scene from You’ve Got Mail. Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) observes that an indecisive person must make several choices to order a specialty coffee: “Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the heck they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.”

The line makes me laugh because it rings true for me. Even though the “big picture” of my life looks a little hazy, I definitely have a “usual” order at my favorite coffee shop: Almond milk. Honey. Cinnamon. Cappuccino. If anything, it goes to show that we place orders to satiate more than just hunger or thirst—we crave something unique.

That said, I know I don’t necessarily want to assert my individuality with six decisions every time I order a coffee—who hasn’t stared blankly at a menu overwhelmed by its breadth?Megan’s A distinct signature menu option can satisfy that desire for the one-of-a-kind while simplifying the selection process. In fact, my standard cappuccino order began as a signature beverage suggested by a barista. Special menu items offer customers the chance to try something new that they might not consider otherwise or might not be able to find elsewhere. Plus, signature recipes can streamline service and product purchasing for shops by allowing baristas to spend less time on cup-by-cup customization and by helping managers better anticipate what products and quantities they will need.

When we began crafting signature recipes at Barista Pro Shop two years ago for our Lively Libations blog series, we didn’t have an exact agenda—really it began as an excuse to take “pretty pictures” of floral lemonades. However, since then, we’ve realized the campaign’s ability to address a customer’s desire for specificity and a shop’s need for efficiency. It has grown into a means to connect with the coffee shops that we serve all over the country as we experiment with new products and flavor combinations. We have so enjoyed seeing our ideas and recipes on customer menus and likewise; we love being inspired by the specialty-coffee community while we imagine our recipes.

Dana’s “White Elephant” Lively Libations Through collaboration with friends in the industry and by our own trial and error, we’ve picked up a few tricks along the way that we want to share. We hope you enjoy our recipe-creation hacks!

How to Create Memorable Recipes

Something Familiar, Something New

Customers like surprises … but within reason. An element of familiarity makes a new menu option more approachable by giving patrons a frame of reference—whether that’s a clearer idea of what the drink will taste like or a fun connection to pop culture.

Stay Current

In this era of instant updates and a rapidly changing market, nobody wants to be passé. Customers’ interests and taste change daily—stay up to speed to keep them coming back.

Get the Team on Board

Larissa’s “Pear Crumble” Lively LibationsAs the face of the business, the barista behind the bar can make all the difference when it comes to educating customers about your menu. Make sure your baristas are informed and involved.

Consider Your Customers

You may think up something brilliant, but if customers aren’t interested, then it won’t affect the bottom line.

Unleash Your Inner Mixologist!

In the wise words of our Cafe Consultant Tia Peck, “If you aren’t making a mess, you aren’t doing it right.” That’s not license to be a slob, but rather a reminder that it’s all right to make mistakes when trying something new. New products and unfamiliar recipes can be intimidating if you put too much pressure on yourself. It’s uncharted territory—you don’t know what you don’t know, so how can you expect yourself to figure it out perfectly on the first try? Give yourself the freedom to make something truly terrible. Then, start over and make it better. Who knows, you might have an unexpected happy accident!Danielle’s “Yerba Mocha” Lively Libations

And there you go–our best tips and tricks to make you menu really dazzle! Cheers.
BPS Article on Barista Magazine Online

Looking for a few more resoucres?
Check out our Lively Libations Recipe Archive and read more about drink preparation: Totally Instagrammable: How to Create and Capture Picture Perfect Specialty Beverages