11 Summer Movie Themed Cocktails to Brighten Your Booze Menu

11 Summer Movie Themed Cocktails to Brighten Your Booze Menu

Summer movie hits are rolling in and so are thirsty patrons looking something fresh and new at the bar. Have some fun with this Summer’s movie themes and create cocktails inspired by feisty heroines, brooding heroes, aliens, and emojis.

1. Wonder Woman

Strong and sweet. Feminine, but not to be taken lightly!

  • 1 1/2 oz White rum
  • 1/2 oz Brandy
  • 1/2 oz Triple sec
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • Long strip lemon peel to serve – golden lasso of truth!

Combine in a shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into martini glass or a blue glass tumbler. Serve with a lemon lasso garnish!

2. Alien: Covenant

Use charcoal infused tequila to make this black as space cocktail.  Add 2 tbsp of activated charcoal powder to a full bottle of tequila and shake to make.

  • 1 1/2 oz Charcoal-infused tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz St-Germain
  • 3/4 oz Lime juice
  • Two dashes of orange bitters
  • Three sprays of a smokey scotch to finish

Combine first four in a shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into a tumbler with ice. Spritz with scotch before serving.

3. The Emoji Movie

This cocktail looks exactly like the classic cocktail emoji icon!

  • 2 oz Cachaça 51
  • 1/2 oz Orange juice
  • 1 oz Passion fruit juice
  • 1/2 oz Grenadine
  • Lime and cherry on pick for garnish

Pour grenadine into a hurricane glass and top with crushed ice. Combine Cachaça 51, orange and passion juice into a shaker with ice. Shake. Pour over ice. Garnish with lime wedge and cherry.

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spiderman may be in high school, but the rest of us can still drink! Layer this colorful cocktail to get those classic Spidey colors.

  • 1/2 oz Curaçao blue
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Splash of seltzer
  • 1/2 oz Grenadine
  • A wedge of lime
  • Cherry to serve

Rim a tall glass with lime. Pour in the grenadine then fill with large ice cubes. Slowly add vodka, then seltzer and top with blue curacao. Squeeze lime over top and garnish with a cherry.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Island feel with a cheeky kick!

  • 1 1/2 oz Coconut rum
  • 1/2 oz Banana schnapps
  • 1/2 oz Peach schnapps
  • 1/2 oz Cranberry juice (not juice cocktail)
  • 1/2 oz Fresh orange juice
  • 2 oz Fresh pineapple juice
  • Pineapple on sword pick to serve

Combine first three into a shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into highball glass with ice and top with juices in the order listed for a sunset effect. Garnish with pineapple sword. Yo ho ho!

6. Atomic Blond

Looks sweet and unassuming in the glass. Little do they know…

  • 2 oz Rye whiskey
  • 1⁄2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • 1⁄2 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash Orange bitters
  • Lemon twist to garnish

Combine a mixing glass over ice. Stir. Strain int a chilled whiskey glass. Garnish with lemon.

7. The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Because Samuel L. Jackson would just order whiskey, but Ryan Reynolds needs it with a bit of a flair!

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Canada Dry ginger ale

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice. Add ingredients in order listed. Done and done.

8. Baby Driver

A chocolaty twist on the classic White Russian. Chocolate milk for the kid, liquor for the adults.

  • 6 oz Cold chocolate milk
  • 1 1/2 oz Vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz Kahlúa
  • Mini brownie bite to garnish

Combine in a shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into a pint glass with ice. Cut part way into the brownie and settle on edge of glass to garnish.

9. The Dark Tower

Light on the bottom; looming dark on top.

  • 2 oz Dark rum
  • 3/4 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Spiced simple syrup
  • Cherry with stem to garnish

Combine lemon juice and syrup into shaker with lots of ice. Shake. Strain into highball glass with fresh ice. Float rum on top. Garnish with cherry.

10. Despicable Me 3

Everyone’s favorite little yellow Minion buddies – in cocktail form. Perfect for parents who need a pick me up after hearing “minion-speak” all day!

  • 1/5 oz Absinthe
  • 1/5 oz Whiskey
  • 1/5 oz Gin
  • 1/5 oz Vodka
  • 1/5 oz Cinnamon Schnapps

Combine in shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into shot glass or tumbler with fresh ice.

11. Transformers: The Last Night

In honor of Optimus Prime, friend or foe?

  • 1/2 oz Raspberry vodka
  • 1/2 oz Watermelon Schnapps
  • 1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 1 Splash Grenadine
  • 4 oz Lemon-lime soda
  • 1 oz Sweet and sour mix
  • 1/4 oz Blue Curaçao Fill

Fill tall glass with ice. Layer ingredients in order listed topping up with ice before adding soda as needed. Add the Blue Curacao carefully so as not to lose the layers! Serve with a straw.

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Training Hacks: Building Your Team

Training Hacks: Building Your Team

Having a solid training program will provide benefits every time your employees work a shift. The best training programs begin by hiring the best employees. This can be the difference between immediate success and possible failure.

Here are the first steps to take to put the right people in the right places.

1. Determining Staffing Needs

Every establishment is different but the theories behind determining staffing levels are similar all around.

Think about the flow of your business and every step a customer will take on their way to an excellent experience, from the moment they walk through the door to the moment they leave. To ensure service, you’ll need employees who’ll engage the customer at each step, and then you’ll need a support staff. The support staff are employees who the customer may not deal with directly, but still affect the final customer experience. Examples of support staff are barbacks, busboys, prep cooks, and housekeepers.

Based on the size of your establishment and the level of service you plan on providing you’ll want to have at least two (if not more) of each position during your peak hours.

Of course, you’ll want to employ more than two people for each position to account for day and night shifts, for days off, for extra coverage when needed, and as backups in case of emergencies.

2. How To Hire

Now that you’ve determined your staffing needs, it’s time to put the word out.

There are many ways to let potential employees know you’re hiring. The best way is to post your open positions to a job site specific to the hospitality industry, preferably one that partners with the big job search engines as well as with local sites and with trade associations. This ensures you’ll connect with the most enthusiastic and professional candidates.

The best way is to post your open positions to a job site specific to the hospitality industry.

Of course, there are always the traditional ways such as word of mouth, employee referrals, and the trusty old “Help Wanted” sign.

It’s a good idea to tell any and all applicants you’re always accepting applications, even when you think you may be fully staffed. By doing so you’ll always have possible employees in the pipeline ready to begin training at a moment’s notice. Don’t wait until an employee resigns or until you involuntarily lose an employee before hiring their replacement. This gives you peace of mind knowing all possibilities are covered.

3. Who To Hire

If you’re always accepting applications and interviewing potential employees, you’ll find the person you spend valuable training dollars on will be of a higher quality.

Unfortunately, it’s common in the industry to hire out of necessity. This can affect customer service and employee morale in the long run. Try to avoid backing yourself into this corner at all costs.

Before you begin interviewing potential employees, take the time to list the personality traits and skills you’d like your perfect employee to have.

Each position requires a certain type of person. Before you begin interviewing potential employees, take the time to list the personality traits and skills you’d like your perfect employee to have.

After you form a profile of your superstar employee(s), you’ll want to tailor your interview questions accordingly. Always remember to ask open-ended questions to keep the candidate talking as much as possible. This allows you to get an idea of how they’ll deal with service as well as how they’ll fit into the team. Of course, you’ll want to include a few skill questions to make sure they can meet your skill level requirements, too.

Here are a few other quick hiring hacks to keep in mind:

  • Don’t be afraid to be creative or out of the box with your questions. You want to force the candidate to think quickly, as they’ll be doing this continuously during shifts.
  • During the interview, don’t just show your amiable side. Remember, it’s their goal to impress you, not the other way around.
  • Also, keep in mind there may be some strict guidelines you’re required to follow when interviewing. Rules and regulations vary from state to state. Click here for more information on the regulations where you’re located.
  • Last, schedule a follow-up interview for a day or two later so you can think about things first. Avoid hiring a candidate “on the spot” if at all possible.

One of the best quotes we’ve heard from a small business owner when asked about their hiring practices was, “Every horse runs a good first lap.”

“Every horse runs a good first lap.”

He meant everyone puts their best foot forward during interviews so take the time to think about how the candidate will fit into the big picture. It’s tough to build a cohesive and successful team when new hires let you down or move on within a few weeks. If you find this happens frequently, you may want to revisit your hiring process.

Finding a good hire is the first step in a successful training program and should not be taken lightly. It’s rare that an employer finds the perfect employee who’s always on time, enthusiastic, and able to handle anything thrown their way…all while providing the best service possible.

Protect your business by establishing and following great hiring practices. That’s the best way to start training off of the right foot.

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Sirvo Says: Elevated Dining in Denver & Boulder

Sirvo Says: Elevated Dining in Denver & Boulder

If you’re looking to go big for your next meal, then Denver and Boulder definitely have options that fit the bill. With the elevated dining scene booming in Colorado, this list could very easily be larger. For now, here are 10 fine dining restaurants that will without a doubt satisfy your appetite.

1. Frasca

Named after social gathering places in northeast Italy, Frasca is one of Colorado’s finest dining establishments. Restaurateur Bobby Stuckey and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson have created their own sort of gathering spot on the famed Pearl Street in Boulder. Sit back, relax and enjoy a quite memorable experience. Not too much else can compare with an elevated Italian cuisine, a broad and notable wine list and a level of service you have seldom seen anywhere else.

2. ChoLon

No stranger to praise, Chef Lon Symensma has been creating some of the most innovative dishes this city has ever seen. His plates are full of color, texture and most importantly, flavor. ChoLon’s Southeast Asia inspired menu helps elevate a dining scene that is often dominated by roasted meats and macaroni and cheese. Our suggestion – order the Grilled Octopus with Chinese sausage, young potatoes and pickled grapes. If you’re hoping to make an impression on someone and are unsure of where to go in town, make a reservation at ChoLon and let them take care of the rest. 

3. Elway’s

When you put an iconic name on the front of your restaurant there is a lot of pressure to not just be good, but to be great. Elway’s is just that. Despite the emerging competition, this fine establishment continues to offer next level service with memorable cuisine. Elway’s is your classic Denver steakhouse and is the right place to go when you want a hearty meal that justifies the price and satisfies your appetite.

4. OAK at Fourteenth

Another exceptional restaurant from owners Steven Redzikowski and Bryan Danton and yet another Boulder establishment listed in the top five of this list. A New American seasonal menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and a high (high) level of hospitality. OAK is constantly making measured adjustments to stay relevant and ahead of the game. The name represents the oak oven and grill used to prepare some of the best dishes in the state. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to dine here, but it sure will feel like it’s one.

5. Shanahan’s Steak House

Okay, let us be clear here for all of our out of state transplants. Yes, Denver has two steakhouses named after a couple of local football heroes. Welcome to Bronco Country. Shannahan’s is very symbolic of local culture serving large servings of red meat within an elegant setting. What differentiates this steakhouse from the other ones in town? Probably it’s 6,000 bottle wine cellar. Take your family, take an important client or simply go and enjoy a great dinner with friends.

6. Flagstaff House

This former cabin retreat nestled into the side of a mountain is the perfect Colorado upscale restaurant. The views are breathtaking and the dining experience is one of kind. With over 15,000 bottles of wine to choose from and a phenomenal menu selection including our choice the Hudson Valley Foie Gras, pan seared and served with crispy braised Sweetbreads. Flagstaff House is truly a place to celebrate a special occasion with loved ones and you will enjoy every minute of it. 

7. Panzano

Located in the Hotel Monaco, this Northern Italian influenced restaurant has been one of the best places to eat in Denver for the last 17 years. Despite the departure of Chef Elise Wiggins, her influence and legacy carry on at Panzano. We advise ordering the Doppio Ravioli di Vetri, braised lamb, polenta rustica, calabrian chile and pecorino cheese. Panzano doesn’t just have great food, there is an elevated level of hospitality one feels right when they walk in the door. The perfect night is taking a loved one out on the town, reserving a room at the Hotel Monaco and eating at one of the best places in the city. Very memorable.

8. Del Frisco’s

For years Denver diners have been making it a point to eat at Del Frisco’s. Known as one of the best steakhouses in the country it was impossible to not place them on this list. This beautiful establishment is the definition of upscale dining in this great city. Despite the appearance of only catering to a more affluent customer base, Del Frisco’s treats all of its guests to a wonderful meal and experience. Don’t wait for that next special occasion, call today to reserve a table and enjoy.

9. The Nickle

The Hotel Teatro is one of the most charming places to stay in the city and located on the main floor is their equally charming dining establishment, The Nickel. Located in Denver’s historic Tramway Building, The name of the restaurant pays homage to the price of riding the train. Once again this is a great place to get a room and enjoy a great meal. The Nickel has an excellent food and beverage program as well as talented staff that delivers top notch service.

10. Edge

You may be thinking, “Another steakhouse?”. While Edge may offer a fine selection of steak options, it is much much more than your average steakhouse. First off, it is an extremely beautiful space located within one of the best hotels in the city, The Four Seasons. Edge has a wide selection of from the grill options, seafood plates and an array of delicious side dishes. The minute you enter the restaurant, you instantly feel like you are somewhere nice. That’s the whole point of dining at places like edge, right?

There is nothing better than treating getting dressed up and treating ourselves to a nice night on the town, hence this list. Sirvo loves and supports the local Denver dining scene! We have such an amazing food culture that just keeps getting better year after year. 2016 has seen the arrival of many great restaurants and we imagine 2017 will bring some more. If you or someone you know are looking to work within this thriving industry, head to our job board to search for that next great opportunity!

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Lessons from Las Vegas

Lessons from Las Vegas

In the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, it’s important to refresh yourself and your staff on the best practices that have been in place for many years.

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Implementing Responsible Alcohol Service in Your Establishment

Implementing Responsible Alcohol Service in Your Establishment

Each state regulates alcohol — from its manufacturing, to selling, and the actions resulting from its use. This includes assessing the liability of any violations. If you serve alcohol in your restaurant, it is important that you and each staff member are aware of the laws, rules, and best practices in your state. Serving alcohol involves many risks. 

The failure to act responsibly may result in fines, loss of your liquor license, increased costs of insurance, or even imprisonment. Ultimately, it could result in losing your business.

Consequences of Serving an Intoxicated Guest

In almost every state, it is illegal to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person. There are numerous types of liabilities associated including criminal, administrative (liquor control commission), and broad civil liabilities via the Dram Shop Law. Therefore, it is imperative that you develop specific policies that ensure the responsible serving of alcohol in your establishment. This includes having a clear concise process for the difficult situation of denying service to an intoxicated guest.

Alcohol Awareness Training

Most liability insurances now require that all members of a restaurant, bar, or tavern staff undergo this type of training. Additionally, it is important because it helps underscore the importance of responsible service as well as the consequences of failing to do so. It also provides bartenders and servers with a factual base that enables them to make informed and often difficult, service related decisions with confidence. In addition to outside training, it is important that you have internal policies that define what to do when faced with these judgment calls.

The failure to act responsibly may result in fines, loss of your liquor license, increased costs of insurance, or even imprisonment.

Situational Awareness Training and Empowerment

Each member of your staff, no matter if they serve alcohol are important in the success of these policies, as often situations like these can be prevented. Train your staff to be observant. They should be listening and watching what is going on in your restaurant. Encouraging them to use their best judgment, empower each staff member to report any person or group they believe may present a problem. This is the best opportunity you have to prevent an incident from occurring. Once a report has been made, that is the time to have a manager or the owner drop by the table, speak to the patron, further assess the situation, and perhaps intervene.

Other Preventative Measures

  • Servers and bartenders keep track of how many drinks have been served.
  • Don’t serve drinks ordered for someone who is not yet present. As this person could already be intoxicated or perhaps even underage.
  • Have a visible authority presence in the bar area. This could be security or management.
  • Have signage posted with your policy

…it is important that they have the trust and support of management.

Tips to Refusing Service to an Intoxicated Patron

Because this is a judgment call that servers and bartenders are in the best position to make, it is important that they have the trust and support of management. Having a written policy that outlines the process is also helpful. These factors make it easier for them to exercise good judgment of how and when to refuse service. Robert Plotkin, founder of Bar Media offers the following advice on how to cut off an intoxicated guest.

  • When in doubt – don’t serve- Make this your policy. Because of the potential liability, isn’t it better to err on the side of caution?
  • Keep it simple- In the fewest words possible, explain that as a matter of policy, you will not be serving any more alcohol.
  • If possible, be discreet- There is no need to cause a scene that may embarrass the patron and potentially provoke an incident.
  • Utilize tact and diplomacy- Avoid using inflammatory language, disapproval, or criticism.
  • Remain firm- Once you have committed to this decision there is no turning back. To do so would undermine your credibility and authority.
  • Keep everyone in the loop- Notify the other staff and servers so that they do not mistakenly serve the guest additional alcohol.

For general precaution, management on-duty should be notified to take any further action needed, allowing the bartender or server to resume their regular roles. Management should determine whether to offer and arrange alternate transportation for the patron.

Keeping the patrons safe from harm and your establishment safe from liability is a job that falls to every employee. Knowing when and how to cut off an intoxicated guest is a judgment call often left to the bartender and servers. It is sometimes awkward and difficult, however, with proper training, guidelines, and internal support it can be accomplished with dignity and tact. 

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Why Your Restaurant Should Focus on Kids (Hint: To Increase Profits)

Why Your Restaurant Should Focus on Kids (Hint: To Increase Profits)

Want to increase your restaurant’s bottom line?  Consider making your eatery kid-friendly. According to Bloomberg, Americans’ spending on dining out has outpaced their spending on groceries for the first time. This includes parents taking their children out to eat in restaurants. With dining out becoming more popular, catering to families makes financial sense. Kids might not eat as much as adults, but making your restaurant kid-friendly can increase your overall volume.  

Include a Variety of Kids’ Options on the Menu

Recent surveys by the American Culinary Federation show that healthy, locally grown menu items are a top choice when eating in a restaurant. This applies to parents as much as anyone else, particularly when they read news stories about the dangers of childhood obesity. Offering healthy menu items for children does not mean that you have to ditch the hot dogs, French fries and macaroni and cheese, but it does mean that adding items like sliced fruit, whole grain bread, low-fat milk and lean meats are a good idea. Parents are more likely to return to a restaurant where they know that they can feed their kids a delicious healthy meal.

With dining out becoming more popular, catering to families makes financial sense.

Pay Attention to Service

Remember that kids are customers, too. They should not just be an afterthought. Respect all customers, regardless of age. Warmly greet parents with children in tow and give them a larger table so that they have room to store all of their gear. A larger table also gives parents room to move items out of kids’ reach if necessary. If appropriate, ask the parents if their kids would like a high chair or booster seat.

Children, depending on age, want to be treated like adults and appreciate being asked directly what they would like to order. Serve kids’ meals quickly, even if the adult food is not ready. Parents very much appreciate speedy service. Show flexibility when it comes to food items, since many children these days have food allergies. Be ready to offer substitutions and give information about food ingredients if needed.

  • Make sure every bathroom has a changing station. Put a short stool under the sink so that children can stand on it when they wash their hands.
  • Offer an online menu. Parents appreciate knowing what options are available for their kids ahead of time.
  • Have kids-eat-free days. Offer a free child meal for every adult meal purchased. This is a simple way to attract more families.

Ensure that Children Have Plenty to Do 

Children become bored easily and quickly. Ensure that they have plenty to do while waiting for their food to keep them from acting out. Provide child-friendly appetizers, paper tablecloths, coloring books and crayons. Make the menus colorful, entertaining and even interactive. They might have a word search game, a crossword puzzle or a fun worksheet on the back. You can also hand these out to kids and their parents while they wait for a table.

Remember that kids are customers, too.

Consider creating a kids’ corner. It should be a place that is visible from every angle in the restaurant so that parents can see their kids at all times. Add pillows, coloring books, drawing papers, Lego blocks, reading books and other kid favorites to give children a place to play while waiting for their meal. While these areas can often be tedious to manage, they serve as great ways for parents to offer their kids distractions when patience runs short. Rotate the toys out to avoid old ones getting grimy.

Making your restaurant a child-friendly place takes a little work but is worth the effort.  Parents will appreciate it, and children will, too. They might even become lifelong customers.

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