Whether you’re looking for the perfect words for a novel, searching for the right balance of color in a painting or debating on the notes for a musical composition, finding something inspiring to act as your muse can be a difficult task. The same can be said for the beverage market as manufacturers are looking for that perfect formulation.

At the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo, which took place July 13-16 in Chicago, ingredient companies showcased their latest and greatest offerings to help beverage-makers stay on top of industry trends. Sweeteners, colors, hydrocolloids, and vitamin and mineral fortification were among the many highlights of this year’s show. To see some beverage-related releases and features, check out page 52 or visit bevindustry.com to read the full version of our IFT post-show report.

But formulation isn’t the only way we see manufacturers getting creative with their products. Many pull influence from popular news headlines to come up with their own fun cocktail ideas. For example, while royal enthusiasts waited on pins and needles to hear the latest news about the birth of the royal baby last month, Effen Vodka, a brand of Beam Inc., developed two special cocktails in honor of the celebration: Mom’tini and Haut Mama.

The Mom’tini mixes muddled jalapeño, pineapple, agave nectar, and pineapple and lime juices in a mixing glass. Effen Vodka and ice are then added and the mixture is shaken and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. The more advanced cocktail, Haut Mama, suggests rinsing a chilled cocktail glass with mezcal, then shaking out the excess liquid. In a mixing glass, muddled jalapeño, pineapple/honey syrup, and pineapple and lime juices are mixed. Then vodka and ice are added and the drink is shaken and strained into the prepared cocktail glass. Although the Duchess of Cambridge probably wasn’t able to enjoy these after the delivery of her son, many other consumers had a chance to enjoy the celebration with these cocktails.

However, cocktails are not the only way beverage-makers can be innovative when it comes to their products. When Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.’s Ocean Spray brand introduced its new Citrus 100% Juice Blends Citrus Tangerine Orange and Citrus Mango Pineapple, it also released both alcohol and non-alcohol drink recipes for consumers’ enjoyment. Featuring 100% Juice Citrus Mango Pineapple, the Tropical Citrus Smoothie includes fruit and sorbet, ice cream or frozen yogurt. The Citrus Mint Tea recipe contains one of the Citrus 100% Juice Blends, water, tea (loose or bagged), fresh mint and sugar.

 Whether it’s celebrating a popular event or just enjoying the fruits of the summer season, manufacturers are finding more ways to offer consumers inspiring ideas to spruce up their beverage consumption.