Cocktails featuring tropical fruit, berries garner buzz

If you want to get customers buzzing about your cocktails, try adding tropical fruit, berries or pear to them. And don’t be shy about putting beets in your Mojitos.

That’s according to the latest data from social media intelligence firm newBrandAnalytics. The Washington, D.C.-based company monitors online reviews from websites such as OpenTable, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Twitter and Facebook, and determines which items get customers talking online and vowing to come back for more.

“More people are talking online, and they’re getting very specific about their experiences,” said Susan Ganeshan, newBrandAnalytics’ chief marketing officer. That includes praise of specific wines, beers, spirits and cocktails.

After analyzing more than 40,000 reviews that mention beverages at 100 hot restaurants across the country, the research firm separated the meaningful information (“I like the espresso martini and the dirty martini with blue cheese and olives”) from the non-meaningful information (“The drinks are fabulous”). Then it drew the following conclusions:

Margaritas, Mojitos, martinis

• Positive mentions of margaritas and Mojitos are on the rise and those of martinis are steady.

• The fastest-growing margarita flavors in terms of popularity are blood orange, pear, mango and watermelon.

• Pear, passion fruit, lychee and grapefruit are trending martini flavors.

• Mentions of guava, coconut, beet and Dragon Berry in Mojitos are becoming more common. Dragon Berry is a Bacardi rum flavor that combines dragon fruit and strawberry.

• Pomegranate and strawberry remain popular descriptors of margaritas and martinis.

• Pineapple and mango get frequent positive nods if they’re in martinis or Mojitos.

• Other popular Mojito flavors are raspberry and passion fruit.

• The generic term “tropical” is often mentioned in positive margarita reviews.

Trending flavors and liquors

• Ginger is a trendy drink flavor across the board.

• When it comes to the types of liquor praised, whiskey — particularly rye and bourbon — is being mentioned more often, as are gin and rum.

• Tequila, sake and vodka remain at a steady buzz level.

Wine

• The wine varieties trending the most are champagne, moscato, Riesling and Pinot Grigio.

• Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot remain popular.

Beer

• Local craft beers are trendy, but so is cider — especially pear cider — and the Michelada, which is a cocktail of beer and tomato juice.

Nonalcoholic

• When it comes to non-alcoholic beverages, raspberry lemonade and strawberry lemonade are earning high praise, as are tea-lemonade blends and horchata, a Mexican beverage made with rice or other grains or seeds, and spices such as cinnamon.

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