Beverages: Punches and sodas

Operators boost beverage sales with housemade specialty drinks.

Published in FSD Update

A selection of Stanford’s mocktails.

At the Carson Long Military Academy, a client of Flik Independent School Dining, in New Bloomfield, Pa., chef manager Joe Wiles has to feed growing boys three meals a day, seven days a week, so he’s always looking for a great thirst quencher. Housemade sodas and punches were the perfect fit. “Not only are they a great vehicle for fresh produce and herbs, but cadets are like trout—they’re attracted to shiny, pretty colors,” says Wiles, who recommends using clear containers to display the drinks. “It’s a strict environment here, so I’m looking for ways to perk up their day.”

Wiles isn’t alone. Kahlil Wells, general manager of Lakeside Dining Hall at Stanford University, in California, opted for housemade mocktails to spruce up special events. The stations did so well that the team now hosts “Happy Hours” in the dining hall, where students can mix non-alcoholic drinks at a table with shakers, fresh fruit, herbs and juices, creating a party atmosphere that encourages lingering. “Mocktail service is being requested by adult groups wanting to host receptions on campus without alcohol, while maintaining that cocktail party vibe.”

Some best-sellers include Key Lime Pie, made with vanilla syrup, pineapple juice, fresh lime and whipped cream, and a Passion Fruit Mojito made with infused syrup muddled with mint and ginger ale. “The flair and drama of cocktail shakers, having the drink made fresh to order and the delicious recipes combine to make the station an eye catcher, conversation starter and mood setter,” Wells says.

Prepping points

How can you jump on the housemade beverage bandwagon? Fortunately, there is minimal prep involved, mostly washing and chopping the ingredients. Because the mocktails are made by the students, there is no manual labor involved for Wells. The same goes for Wiles, who makes his drinks in five-gallon batches and lets the students serve themselves. “Punches are like salad dressing—they taste better the next day after they’ve had time to macerate together and really infuse the liquid,” Wiles says.

Fresh and seasonal ingredients are paramount, says Treff Baker, executive chef with Bon Appétit Management Co. at The Docket, a new restaurant at the Saint Louis University School of Law. Baker serves several varieties of housemade sodas, like Strawberry-Basil, Blueberry-Mint and Orange-Ginger, all made to order. “Combine the freshest ingredients possible with a good muddler and your favorite sparkling water, allowing the ingredients to speak for themselves, and you’re sure to get a delicious drink,” Baker says. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Just over 100 foodservice workers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have voted to join a branch of the Service Employees International Union, KIMT reports.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota said that 89% of the ballots cast during last week’s election were in favor of unionizing.

The workers are employed by Sodexo, Mayo Clinic’s current foodservice vendor. The clinic recently announced plans to switch vendors to Morrison Healthcare Food Services, a move that has sparked backlash from workers and led to a lawsuit from the SEIU .

Read the full story via .

Sponsored Content
pasta dish from NC State

From Barilla.

Good-for-you food doesn’t do much good if it’s a hard sell to get diners to eat it. Luckily, pasta is nearly always a crowd-pleaser, especially with student athletes who benefit from its nutritional boost.

“One thing about pasta is that students like it,” says Lisa Eberhart, a registered dietician and director of nutrition and wellness for North Carolina State University, where they serve Barilla pasta. “It’s also a great source of slow-burning carbohydrates.”

In fact, 57% of Gen Z consumers and 58% of millennials call pasta a “preferred food,”...

Industry News & Opinion

The Los Angeles Unified School District has lifted its ban on flavored milk in an effort to reduce food waste, the Los Angeles Times reports.

After implementing the ban in 2011, the district noticed that many students would simply throw away their unused milk containers, causing them to end up in landfills. In order to combat the problem, the district’s board is launching a four-part study in 21 schools that will examine different ways to encourage kids to drink more plain milk.

One of the theories proposed is that students will be more likely to drink plain milk if they...

Industry News & Opinion

As Harvard University’s dining staff strike continues , the school has added an extra $25 to student accounts, providing more flexibility for students to eat outside of the dining halls, The Harvard Crimson reports.

The extra funds were added to Crimson Cash and BoardPlus accounts, which students can use to pay for food both on and off campus.

Aside from some technical issues with payment processing, students are grateful for the extra money, according to The Harvard Crimson.

Since the strike began two weeks ago, students have complained about food quality in the...

FSD Resources