In an effort to make its drinks offering more inclusive, Burger & Lobster released a time-limited gender-neutral cocktail menu at two of its sites last week.
It was made up of five tipples, all of which were colourless and nameless, and were offered at the Soho and Bread Street branches.
The launch was in response to a survey commissioned by the restaurant and bar chain, which revealed that 21% of Brits don’t feel comfortable drinking certain cocktails as they feel they are better suited for the opposite gender.
Additional findings showed that 13% of Brits have been ‘made fun of’ because of their choice of drink and 26% of men and women feel they have to choose a particular beverage because of pressure from friends or family.
Burger & Lobster also analysed in-house customer behaviour, which found that 31% of male customers were opposed to ordering a Cosmopolitan or Piña Colada, because the name of the cocktails felt ‘feminine’, while 11% of female customers were hesitant in asking for a Negroni or Old Fashioned.
The new gender-neutral cocktails didn’t have names at the Soho branch but were numbered, so that customers could choose a drink without worrying about stereotypes – and instead, focus on the flavours they preferred.
Head of bar for the company, George Pugsley and mixologist Eduard Bala reimagined traditional cocktails, using ingredients like grape and elderflower cordial, kombucha and a peach aperitif liqueur.
At the Bread Street restaurant, however, customers were given a traditional list of cocktail names as part of an additional experiment to see if this would affect their choices.
The five drinks included the White Cosmopolitan, Mojito Twist, Margarita Twist, White Negroni and Piña Colada Twist.
At Bread Street, only 5% of men and women chose the White Negroni, while at the Soho venue – where it was simply called No. 1 – it was four times more popular.
It’s not just the marketing of cocktails that affects people’s choices; according to the survey 67% of the 2,000 participants avoid drinks if the glassware is too ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’.
Frivolous garnishes are also a concern for some (25%).
‘The colourless and nameless cocktails are an exciting concept, not only for us but for our customers,’ said Ben Hedley, head of marketing at Burger & Lobster.
‘They are always on the lookout for what we are doing next and we hope this will encourage more people to feel comfortable in what they are drinking – everybody loves a cheeky cocktail.’
Following the results of its experiment, Burger & Lobster will roll out the new menu in all of its London restaurants next year.
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