How to Incorporate Fresh Fruit into Your Bar Program

Jul. 19, 2018

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Utilizing fresh fruit in your cocktails as a part of a core bar program takes a lot of effort.

“So many of my accounts talk to me about wanting to implement a fresh fruit program, and it’s not for everyone,” said Alex Alfonso, Breakthru Florida Beverage Specialist. “I try to help them figure out if they can support a 100% fresh program, or even half fresh.”

While utilizing nothing but fresh ingredients in your cocktails seems like something all your customers might enjoy, it’s easier said than done.

So, how do you know if you can—or even, should—take on a fresh fruit program? Alfonso has the rundown of the things you need to know about staying fresh.

All Fresh vs. Half Fresh

Alex Alfonso: Building a 100% fresh fruit program means your staff will have to work overtime to make sure you’re always fully stocked with every possible fruit and fruit juice you might need for all your signature cocktails. This is a lot of work and fresh fruit doesn’t have a long shelf life, so you need to be sure you can sell through all the fruit.

For some bar programs, I recommend going half fresh, and by that, I mean always being stocked with fresh juice for your top-ordered cocktail, and then having high-quality syrups you can purchase for drinks that aren’t ordered as often.

What Tools You Need

A great blender like a Vitamix or a bullet-style blender works great, and always have some kind of juice extractor on hand for quick pressing. You’ll need these tools so you can batch your fresh fruit juices so they’re readily available during the rush periods.

Popular Fruits

This time of year, limes and lemons are huge, as well as strawberries. I like having a big bowl of strawberries visible at the bar as it gives off a really fresh vibe. I like to use those in daiquiris. Blueberries are starting to come onto the scene, too. I helped one account launch a Blueberry French 75 on their menu. Not enough places use blueberry.

Also, Palomas with fresh grapefruit—so good.

Who Should Go Fresh?

Really, anybody can do it if they can make it work time-wise. Even high-volume accounts like clubs can make it work. It just takes a lot of prepping. For high-volume accounts, I recommend just focusing your fresh fruit program on one or two cocktails that you know will sell big later at night, like a Moscow Mule.

Really, it’s all about your identity. Some bar programs build their entire identity around having fresh fruit as part of their cocktails, which means a club probably wouldn’t be a good fit for a 100% fresh fruit program. But, if margaritas are your number-one selling cocktail, then always have fresh fruit for that cocktail. Gin bars should always have fresh fruit for a Tom Collins. Pick your top cocktails and build your fresh fruit program around it.

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