The classic steakhouse almost always features timeless cocktails: martinis, Old Fashioneds and Manhattans. Red wines are also featured heavily on the wine list: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Millennial consumers have made it clear they want the bar to be the focus of their dining experience. That’s reflected in the design of the modern steakhouse: the bar is out in the open, the focus of the space, and its menu is full of craft cocktails, local beers, unique wines, and even non-alcoholic options that help guests feel like they’re drinking something truly special and made just for them.
CONSIDER UNEXPECTED WINE PAIRINGS
Beef doesn’t have to pair with a heavy red. In addition to those tannin-centric reds mentioned above, wines with earthy flavor like Côtes du Rhône or Italian Dolcetto can also pair well. Don’t forget to consider domestic wines as well. Offering wines from lesser-known regions in the U.S. is a good way to surprise and delight your customers.
Consider wines from up-and-coming areas in the U.S., like the Texas hills, the Snake River Valley in Idaho, central Virginia or New York’s Finger Lakes area. Canada’s wineries in the Okanagan Valley and the Niagara Peninsula are also great options, as well as Mexico’s award-winning Valle de Guadalupe.
RIDING THE CRAFT BEER WAVE
A signature of a modern steakhouse is the inclusion of craft beers on the drink menu. Local microbrews have exploded in recent years, springing up in towns and cities all over the country. There’s so much variety today when it comes to beer. Any of these varieties can be hand-selected to work well with a beef-forward meal:
- Pale ale with a top sirloin butt
- IPA with a brisket
- Cream ale with a hanger steak
- Imperial stout with a rib-eye
REFRESH TRIED-AND-TRUE COCKTAILS
Those well-loved whiskey sours and martinis don’t have to be wiped off your drink menu – encourage your bar manager to give them a twist to keep them updated and fresh. Try introducing a caraway-infused or vanilla-infused rye, a smoky scotch whisky or unique bitters – like chocolate or habanero – to change up classic drink recipes.
GUESTS WANT NON-ALCOHOLIC OPTIONS
No matter if your guest is a teetotaler or sober-curious, there’s a growing opportunity for crafted mocktails for those who choose not to imbibe. Non-alcoholic beverages have grown in popularity along with health- and wellness-conscious consumers – particularly among younger generations.
Non-alcoholic drinks don’t have to sacrifice flavour and can truly feel as though they were created specifically to pair with certain dishes. Just like an alcoholic cocktail, these items can be refreshing, punchy or earthy and can add interest to a small plate or meal.
Modern Steakhouse drinks key information:
- Keep the bar in focus
- Look beyond traditional red wines
- Check out local and regional wines
- Include some craft beers to pair with beef offerings
- Add new flavours to old favourites
- Be inclusive with non-alcoholic options
- Change it up often, or go with a theme