January 19/Norwalk, Conn./The Beverage Information Group -- Despite the sluggish economic recovery, consumers are continuing to dine out. According to data in the newly released Cheers On-Premise BARometer Handbook, published by The Beverage Information Group, many customers are seeking a more sophisticated experience when eating out and when ordering adult beverages. Bartenders must stay on top of trends such as "culinary cocktails," artisanal spirits, specialty non-alcoholic drinks, regional wines and organic and micro-brewed beers to keep customers' interest.

Still, the top drinks have not changed much over the years. According to the bar manager's survey, the Margarita remains the most popular mixed drink nationwide, although decreasing slightly in share. The Martini and Rum & Coke both take second and third spots, respectively. The Cosmopolitan cracked the top five this year, which it had not accomplished since the 2008 survey.

Other trends revealed in the survey include: Absolut narrowly beat out Grey Goose as the leading call brand in 2011. Chardonnay is still the best-selling wine varietal because consumers find it easy to order and drink. Merlot continues to be more popular in hotels and clubs. Finally, in the beer segment, Corona edged out Heineken as the best-selling imported beer, and Sam Adams continues as the most popular craft beer.

 From the January 20, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.