Really?! Who’d a thunk it? But oohh … there it is! The global food network, from road-side eatery to fine-dining restaurants, are pouring out their creative heart and soul in serving up exciting libations, in a spirited non-alcoholic pairing with foods.
This wonderful outpouring of interest and creativity in matching food with non-alcoholic libations was first served up in a toast to good health and great taste and as another elegant and sophisticated choice over the traditional selections of alcoholic wines and spirits. Now what was once perhaps just an exotic consideration has gone mainstream internationally.
According to International Foodservice Surveys, beverages are now driving food sales, rather than the other way around. And in the beverage line, there is no greater buzz than in the non- alcoholic range, from hot and cold coffees and teas, waters and sodas, to the most exotic drink cocktails. For Restauranteurs, non-alcoholic beverage pairings are an innovative way to add interest to and spark conversations around the Menu and in the process, drive customer satisfaction and profits.
However, in Jamaica, that’s no surprise, since Jamaica has so many fruits and foods, which are the main ingredients in our beverages. All our drinks are widely available in hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, stores or on street corners. We have hundreds of fruits, herbs and spices, and each one can produce multiple flavours, aromas and textures for hot or cold libations. Almost all our restaurants now offer customers a full palette of local beverages.
The most important thing to remember when crafting beverage and food pairings is that consumers are looking for beverages and flavour combinations that are just as unique as menu offerings. Here’s a dinner menu paired with some of Jamaica’s favourite non-alcoholic libations:
Appetizers: Callaloo & Saltfish on Crackers; Cheesy Callaloo garnished with diced Tomatoes
Aperitif: Coconut Water garnished with Lemon Slices
First Course: Garden-fresh tossed Salad with a medley of apple, black olive and onion
Libation: Light Cherry/Carrot Drink
Second Course: Land & Sea Food Medley
- Herbed Steamed Fish & Okra on Bammy Rounds
- Garlic Shrimp with smoked mozzarella on grilled eggplant
- Deep Fried Conch in batter with roasted sweet pepper and corn
Libation: Sparkling Lemonade with soda water
Entree: Grilled Jerk Chicken Breast with sweet potato wedges drizzled with olive oil and raisins
Libation: Pineapple Juice with ginger accents
Dessert: Crushed Papaya on guava ice-cream mound
Libation: Lemon Grass Tea