Fresh fruit beverages are taking center stage as a growing trend among restaurants. From martinis and bar drinks to fruit and vegetable mixes, juice is graduating from afterthought to pivotal ingredient.
Finally this refreshing, tangy byproduct of our favorite fruits and vegetables gets some respect. What may have begun with the Vitamix machine craze is now entering the restaurant arena as chefs and bartenders put their flavor blending skills to the test this season pouring flavor-packed concoctions just in time for spring. But you don’t have to claim “juice bar” status to squeeze profits out of this health and wellness category.
Nutrition-conscious consumers are increasingly thirsty for fresh, locally sourced ingredients and frankly, as Californians, we are lucky to have these beauties available right in our backyard to meet the demand.
“My favorite lunch spot serves an ‘elixir’ of fresh-squeezed organic lemonade with a little teaspoon of cayenne pepper to get the digestion going,” says Mandy Burstein, a San Diego-based yoga instructor and writer. “This is the way of the future especially as people get more health conscious – they are not going to reach for soda with high fructose corn syrup, they want fresh cucumber water or Super Food-packed juices.”
Burstein insists that juice menus should extend to the bar, too. Mix gogi berry juice with vodka, add fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and club soda to tequila, or boost the benefit of Bloody Marys and mojitos by stirring in kale juice.
“There is such a demand for juice and smoothies among my circle of yoga friends; when we go out for lunch we’re delighted when a restaurant educates us and exposes us to something cool and different,” Burstein says.
Mandy shares her favorite juice blend combinations and, because everyone’s tastes are unique, she encourages mixologists to play with ingredient portions to either boost nutrition or sweeten flavors.