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NRN's senior food editor explores what's coming for food and beverage this fall, from hyper-local sourcing to "starter drinks."
Fall prediction: Starter drinks
Handcrafted cocktails can be lovely, but waiting for them is a definite buzz kill. Veteran mixologists and other experts have solved that problem when they go out: They order their fancy cocktail, but precede it with a beer or a shot — something that can be brought to them quickly while they wait for their liquid work of art to be composed.
Mission Chinese, with locations in San Francisco and New York City, has developed a similar tactic to let its customers who are waiting for tables know that they’re appreciated: They get free beer until they’re seated.
Bars that take their cocktails and their customers seriously will soon be doing the same thing: Guests who order a drink that will likely take more than a couple minutes to prepare will be given a little something to whet their whistle. People love free stuff, after all, and if you’re not making a big enough margin from your cocktail program to hand out something gratis then you’re not doing your job.