How to write engaging cocktail menus- Useful advice.

When was the last time you didn’t have to struggle while reading a bar menu?

Developing cocktail menus is a wide topic and one I am personally fascinated with (so it will be a frequently recurring topic in this blog and if you email me about it I will certainly reply back).

Throughout the years I have seen menus that don’t address the clientele and have no positive financial impact, but after having done consulting and redesigning menus for my clients we have immediately seen sales improvements. What did we do? I will share with you a secret.

First of all, we have to make clear that a menu is not just a written list of items in any order. Your sumptuous drinks need to be communicated with the right graphic design (typography, colors, paper texture, etc.), the right order and organization of your items, right prices and right pricing strategy, categories, menu length and ease of use, etc. They all play a role in defining your identity and finally maximizing your sales while having an exquisite menu. A properly designed menu can put you in the elite of guest’s perception, and more money in your pocket with less effort. Sounds like too much for your little weak menu? With total confidence I can assure you  that with the right menu you’ll see an increment in your sales.

One of the services we provide is complete development of efficient menus (from the recipes and training down to the menu itself), including development of its text and descriptors. A simple rule you can use to see if the items in your menu are good selling is to apply the rule of 100%. Quite simple, print a sales report for the last 3 months for example, then see what items sell the most and which ones don’t sell at all (get ready to be surprised!). Then keep the top 60% sellers, add the next 20% remaining and get rid of the non selling 20%. Now check the prices and make adjustments if needed. Then try this “quick edition” of your new menu and check it once a week for the next 4 weeks. Check how all your staff performs with this new menu and try to improve the quality of your items whenever possible.

Now I will share another secret with you. When it comes to describing your items one of the many tools we use to communicate them in the menu  is the book Words that sell, by Richard Bayan. This book will provide you with proven formulas to engage your reader and a long list of words (really long) to help you in many situations.

For example, how would you describe something as natural or fresh without sounding cliché or boring? Let’s quickly try it out with a Mojito for a healthy clientele, let’s say that this bar is in Los Angeles, USA.

“Our genuine Mojito combines soulful mint with unrefined pure sugar cane and pristine lemon juice. Carefully muddled and topped off with refreshingly crisp club soda making it a very relaxing and low-calorie drink.”

How does it sound? It certainly sounds appealing to me!

If you want to start putting more money in your pocket and run a better bar, now is the moment! You can get the book and give it a try yourself or you can contact us for our services and put our ideas and other secrets to work for you.

And please, don’t do this,  this is a BAD menu!

Better to this, a simple and good use of a chalkboard,

Have you seen any really good menu lately? share it with us!

If you apply the 100% rule or use the book I suggested for your menu, please share your experience here with all of us!

Be my guest, Lucas Ranzuglia.


About lucas Ranzuglia
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12 Responses to How to write engaging cocktail menus- Useful advice.

  1. rudycaconi says:

    Calloh Callay is a good example.
    Nice Post Lucas!!!
    Muchas Gracias

  2. Anon says:

    There’s a typo in the headline and there is nothing “soulful” about mint. Not a great example for me I’m afraid.

    • Thanks “Anon” (and your name is?), I didn’t see the extra “n” until you pointed it out.
      what other word would you use if not “soulful” without sounding cliché? there are plenty of words to use.
      I think mint is a very generous herb with plenty of “soul” within the realm of botany and on its own as well. It’s flavorful, aromatic and brings all those characteristics with ease.
      Please share an example with us so everybody in the industry keeps improving!

    • Consider that you have to read it through the eyes of the specific type of clientele the example is aiming to relate to. Healthy people in L.A. are doing activities such as meditation, yoga, diets, retreats, fitness, pilates, and alike.
      If you can or if you´re in the US, take time to visit Whole foods supermarket (common for this clientele) for example and walk around seeing how many times you´ll find the word “soul” (and others usually related living beings) related to food.

  3. Charles Munat says:

    I would call the mint “spirited” instead of soulful. Soulful has a sad, melancholy tone unless it’s applied to music or soul food. To a cocktail? A bit pretentious. But “spirited” conveys the sense of “spiritual” that you’re trying to get across, while also implying energetic and maybe even a bit feisty.

  4. Pingback: Right Name, Right sales | Compass Bar Solutions

  5. Campbell says:

    Dear Lucas,
    I thought the post has some great ideas that I will definitely use! Thank you.

  6. Pingback: 10 Commandments for menu success. | Compass Bar Solutions

  7. Thanks for every other magnificent post. The place else could anybody get that kind of information in such a perfect means of
    writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am
    at the look for such information.

  8. Someone HHEHEEHHE says:


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