Every year at the Catersource Conference and Trade Show, we look for new, unique and innovative ideas. This year we came across a "new" concept, even though the item has been around for hundreds of years. The first time a Hookah was ever mentioned in recorded history was 1560, but it felt like we were seeing it for the first time in 2016. At one of the booths, we saw a stunning glass Hookah lit from underneath by a colorful LED. What made this idea new and unique was that this Hookah was filled with a vibrant cocktail instead of plane water. We had all smoked Hookah before, and the taste of the Shisha is pleasant enough. However, when the vapors are cycled through a cocktail before they are inhailed, the experience drifts into a whole new level. It has been proven that the more senses you can involve in a product the better people will respond to it. This experience had flavor, light, smoke, color, interaction... it seemed to be firing on all cylinders.
We got so excited that we purchased two of the Hookahs on the spot. We waited like kids at Christmas for them to be delivered to our commissary so we could start experimenting with flavors. We knew there might be concern over the tobacco, so we found Flavored Tobacco Free Hookah Shisha Molasses to enhance the cocktail flavors in the least harmful way possible. We then chose to purchased all natural organic coconut coals for the Hookah. This allows us to burn the Shisha at the lowest possible temperature, keeping the integrity of the flavor. The next step was figuring out which cocktails to use. Since this was a new concept that many people might be uncomfortable to jump in and try, we decided to go with well-known "comfort" cocktails. After much testing, the cocktails that enhanced the Shisha flavor the best were a Pina Colada and a Berry Mojito.
Any time a new concept is taken out for a spin, it's best to get our industry colleagues on board first. We first showcased our Hookah Cocktails at this year’s ILEA PACE Awards. The guests had a fantastic time igniting their senses with each puff and the Hookahs were a huge hit. The smoke mixing with the cocktails proved to be a fascinating combination that got the guests buzzing, in every sense of the word. What was the crowd favorite? Both received great reviews, but the Berry Mojito by far the most popular choice of the night!