It’s not surprising that New Orleans is riding the wave of the craft cocktail craze. After all, Creole apothecary Antoine Peychaud invented New Orleans’ famous Sazerac at his shop at 437 Royal Street. The cocktail was tweaked over time, Peychaud’s favorite French brandy, Sazerac de Forge & Fils, was substituted for Rye-whiskey or bourbon, and Peychaud’s special bitters were added in to replace Absinthe. Still, this simple yet potent drink remains a New Orleans favorite.
Beyond just the Sazerac, the thirst for craft cocktails is seemingly unquenchable. From local bars to storied hotel lobbies and catering menus, craft cocktails are definitely having a moment.
What’s The Difference Between a Signature Drink and A Craft Cocktail?
Signature drinks are nothing new to catered events. Not only can they help add flair to an event, but they can also help stretch your catering budget. But craft cocktails are different. The word “craft” implies handmade, and that’s precisely what craft cocktails are–handmade libations prepared one cocktail at a time. A lot of care is taken by bartenders making craft cocktails, and fresh ingredients are the norm. Drinks aren’t made from pre-packaged mixes and are without perfumes and artificial flavors. Plus, ice plays a massive role in enjoying a craft cocktail. The shape and size of the ice cube adds water to the mixture at just the right pace and controls the temperature for a more satisfying experience.
The Rise of Small-Batch Distillers Drives Craft Cocktail Popularity
Small batch distillers were the first to push the envelope of the craft cocktail craze. That’s why catering menus are seeing more and more concoctions that include innovative flavor combinations like fennel- and thyme-infused spirits, and your mother and father’s cocktail party drinks are returning with fresh new twists, like vanilla-bean infused vodka gimlets and old-fashioneds made by hand with house-made bitters. Each made one drink at a time.
Small batch distilling kicked off in the UK in 2009 when the law was changed to allow alcohol to be dispatched in small batches. That trend soon spread to the U.S. In 2013, Texas relaxed its liquor laws for the first time since Prohibition allowing Texas distillers to sell their products in limited quantities directly to consumers. A few short years later, Florida followed suit and defined small-batch distillers as those that produce 75,000 gallons per year or less. Louisiana revised its statutes in 2017 to allow micro-distilleries to produce no more than 12,000 gallons a year.
When combined with fresh, unique flavor combinations, these rare spirits created a firestorm in the catering industry that is predicted to be ablaze for many years to come. For good reason. Craft cocktails are simply delicious and an unexpected twist on any New Orleans catering menu.
It’s not uncommon to see local, fresh ingredients make their way into artisanal cocktails offered at catered events like weddings, showers, parties, and corporate gatherings. Components are often all-organic and seasonal as well. At Messina’s Catering and Events, we can create an original, hand-scripted cocktail menu to fit your tastes and event theme. Our talented mixologists coordinate your craft cocktail selections with our chefs to ensure that the food pairings are spot on.
Alcohol Not Required
There are many creative ways to present a drink that have nothing to do with alcohol. Craft mocktails can use tinctures, fermented ingredients, or otherwise, giving the drink a great depth of character…no alcohol required. Many are being re-engineered with fresh juices, less sugar, and better spirits.
Craft Cocktails for Dessert
We haven’t discussed a whole other category of new-age cocktails called drinkable desserts. They are rich and creamy and designed for slow sipping after dinner. Numerous cream liqueurs make the perfect foundation to build creative dessert drinks. Flavors range from cookies and cream to caramel to pistachio, giving full-service caterers like Messina’s a whole new palette to craft the perfect drinkable dessert. The options are limitless, from the tried-and-true decadence of Godiva chocolate liqueur to the on-trend Amarula cream made from Africa’s marula fruit.
No Matter the Theme, Choose an Experienced New Orleans Caterer
A full-service caterer like Messina’s can help you plan the perfect craft cocktail-centric catered event menu that is insta-ready and equally satisfying to consume, just like we’ve been doing since 1961. Learn more by visiting MessinasCatering.com. We can help you craft the perfect combination of food and drink to make your craft cocktail party event a taste sensation.