Retail Cocktails

Retail Cocktails

Retailing is a stressful business. Whether you managing a store directly or are responsible for logistics, planning, buying, or for an ecommerce site, an occasional well-earned libation can be just the thing. Below are a few of the most popular cocktails designed to put you in the appropriate frame of mind to face the next challenges. 

New Arrivals 

Customers always like to see something new on the floor. Enjoy one or two of these; just be careful, however, that the new thing on the floor isn’t you.


1 measure of gin
juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon  granulated sugar
chilled Champagne or sparkling dry white wine
orange slice for garnish

Half fill a tall glass with cracked ice. Add the gin, lemon juice, and sugar, and then stir well. Top up with chilled Champagne and serve with an orange slice. 

2-Day Sale 

As with any promotional event, the important thing is not to overdo it. The 2-Day Sale should not become a three- or four-day event. Same with this refreshing drink, best enjoyed on the weekends.


8 torn mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
1 tablespoon simple syrup
1½ measures of golden tequila
1¼ measures of fresh lime juice
lime wedge for garnish

Place the mint leaves into a highball glass and cover with simple syrup. Muddle with a pestle to release the mint oils. Add the tequila and lime juice, fill the glass with crushed ice, and then stir vigorously. Garnish with a lime wedge and a mint sprig. 

Gross Margin 

Gross margin is very important to profitability, but so much more goes into it than just raising the retail price to get a higher initial percentage. This is all about maintaining gross margin . . . and that includes liquidation markdowns. So enjoy this one slowly.


juice of ½ lemon
1 measure cherry brandy
3 measures gin
soda water to top off
stemmed cherries (optional)

Put 4 or 5 ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Pour the lemon juice, cherry brandy, and gin over the ice, and shake until a frost forms. Pour (without straining) into a hurricane glass and then top off with soda water. Garnish with the cherries and serve with straws.


“The cheapest markdown you take is the first one.” That means make the first one a good one so the merchandise will sell and subsequent markdowns won’t be as much. This is strong stuff to handle, but do it right and you won’t need much more.


1 measure pineapple juice
1 measure dry vermouth
3 measures rye whisky

Put 4 or 5 ice cubes into a shaker. Pour the pineapple juice, vermouth, and whiskey over the ice. Shake until nearly frothy and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve garnished with a cocktail parasol—or not. 

Turnover Rate 

It’s a delicate balancing act to get the turnover just right. Too fast and you are probably losing sales; too slow and you’ll have markdowns at the end of the season (see above). You want to turn stock over at just the appropriate rate.


1 measure tequila
1 measure white rum
2 measures pineapple juice
1 measure grapefruit juice
1 measure coconut milk
pineapple wedge for garnish

Put crushed ice into a shaker and pour in the tequila, rum, pineapple juice, and coconut milk. Shake until a frost forms, then pour into a hurricane glass and garnish with the pineapple wedge.

In the next post I’ll share the recipes for the Mark Up, Floor Plan, Liquidation Sale, and of course, New Store Opening cocktails.

What’s your favorite refreshment after manning the battlements of capitalism?

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