Let’s face it: hue is not a big deal when it comes to cocktails.
Sure, you have the Blue Hawaiian and Purple Jesus, but outside a select clique of color-coordinated concoctions, taste trumps tint. By and large, this is how it should be.
“But when you see a pink cocktail coming down the bar, you want to know what it is.”
– Stuart Cutler of Snowy River Cocktails
That goes for a pitch-black cocktail, or a royal purple one, or perhaps emerald green is your thing — those are just some of the drink dyes on offer from Washington-based Snowy River, a company that gives bartenders the drink equivalent of a BeDazzler. Be it on the rim, floating on top, or actually in the drink itself, Snowy River is all about making cocktails snazzy. And while founder Cutler admits cocktail decorations will never be the star of the show, he points out they go a long way as supporting players to make a drink stand out; where would tropical cocktails be without a little paper umbrella? But Snowy River takes the concept to 11 while hauling the paradigm into 2021. In other words, kiss those paper umbrellas good-bye.
“Our cocktail glitters would be my favorite product,” beams Cutler.
“They bring so much joy and fascination to customers.”
And he’s not talking about something rimming the top of the glass, but a brightly colored, edible glitter that, like the dyes, goes into the cocktail itself as an ingredient. A gin & tonic, which, let’s face it, is not the most eye-catching of cocktails, can morph into a shimmering, iridescent potion in hues of blue, gold, or pearly white (among others). And in case you were wondering, Cutler is way ahead of you:
“The glitters and dyes are made using fruit- and vegetable-based colorants designed in such a way as to not change the underlying flavor of the cocktails, which gives them a ton of versatility.”
But speaking of rimmers, Snowy River also offers fare far more visually appealing than white sugar or salt. “A rainbow of colors” may be one of those marketing terms so overused it loses its punch, but means something this time around. With three shades of blue, a spectrum of reds spanning fire-engine to copper, sooty black, and metallic gold and silver, the sugar catalog alone reads like a color wheel, while the salt lists lavender and cinnamon among its hues. And then there are the toppers.
A thin, fondant film laid across the top of the cocktail, these essentially turn a cocktail into a picture. The holiday possibilities alone are endless — an American flag for the Fourth of July, hearts for Valentine’s Day, phantasms for Halloween — but Snowy River goes one step further and offers customization. Not only does this open the entire calendar in addition to what Cutler already offers, but themed bars and restaurants, as well as event and wedding planners, can get in on the deal.
“We can print any photo, image, or logo onto the toppers,” says Cutler.
“People can order a custom topper from our website and simply send us an image. It’s a great organic marketing tool, totally Instagram-ready.”
The mixology industry has taken notice: Snowy River Cocktails nabbed double-gold medals at the 2019 and 2020 PR%F Awards in Las Vegas for their glitters and rimmers. Which is to say they’ve won awards for every year they’ve existed.
“These days, chefs and bartenders know that their food and beverage creations need to be as beautiful as they are tasty,” Cutler observes.
“Unique, beautifully colored cocktails are conversation-starters; they draw in crowds and new business.”
After a year of almost no business at all, bars and restaurants need all the help they can get.