Parasols, Maraschino Cherries and Green Olives
Some mixed drinks stand out with ridiculous names, like “Jamaican Me Crazy” or “Sex on the Beach.” Others employ distinct and unusual ornaments, such as huge celery stalks, bright syrups or tiny paper umbrellas. These conventions likely started as a way for bartenders to brand their specialties, which was a good idea, but over time, hasn’t the luster faded a bit? Funny names and elaborate decorations are so common now that for a new drink to stand out, it would have to be called something like “Dreams of a Private-eye Mouse,” and be garnished with celery, fire and a tiny deerstalker hat.
Not to say it’s foolish to try for uniqueness, but staying competitive in the creative arms race has become difficult. Obviously, this is not a problem exclusive to cocktails. Many fields suffer from extreme creative competition, but certainly up there on the difficulty scale would be those who deal in drinkware itself. For every one mixed drink, there are dozens of possible containers, and each of those has multiple counterparts, similar in function but altered in style or design. Housing drinks, too, is a tiny piece of the drinkware spectrum, an enormous field that covers a broad range of human activity, from work to travel to play. If it’s difficult for the bartender to make an impression, in an arena that is much larger and more competitive, how is a promotional drinkware distributor to get by?
A basic component of standing out is being up on popular styles. Mike Merkin, regional sales manager for Bullet Line, Miami, pointed out some current visual trends. “You’re getting a more curvy look to pieces,” he said. “Some more hourglass-shaped designs, some more color-blended designs. … You get into an almost ‘retaily’ type of a look with the newer styles.”