Association Leadership - January/February 2016 - (Page 20)

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP ❯❯ MEETING TRENDS By Amy Drew Thompson Health and wellness have been in style in the kitchen for a while now, so it's not surprising to see some trendy items and ingredients strolling next door to the bar. If you've ever dreamed of a caffeine-buzz alternative to coffee or a cocktail that delivers probiotics along with a nice stiff kick, you're in luck. Matcha is hot. And cool. It just depends on where you're looking to serve it. Touted for all kinds of health benefits-high concentrations of all kinds of nutrients, including a potent class of antioxidants called catechins give this Japanese powdered tea a cancer-busting reputation-its impressive caffeine punch could satisfy the most ardent coffee addict once the tea's acquired taste has been achieved. Cold-brewed matcha teas can make an impressive, colorful statement for attendees to enjoy before their morning sessions-not to mention a potent pick-me-up for midday breaks. Served hot or cold or infused with other flavors like lemon or mint or even in frothy drinks (an almond milk latte, for example), they're on point for wellness. For happy hour mixers (perhaps with sushi or other Japanese fare), matcha can add an antioxidant boost to craft cocktails as mixologists can infuse it into spirits such as bourbon or rum. And what's better than tea for a brunch meeting? Get creative. Wellness experts report that gut health (sounds icky, but it's important) is a 2016 trend to carry through the year. Probiotics are popping up everywhere, and one place where they're living and breathing is in kombucha. THE HOT F&B TREND FOR 2016: TEA This naturally fermented tea contains a living colony of bacteria and yeast. Sound gross, sure, but think of it the same way you do yogurt! The probiotics are off the charts and the flavor infusions are limitless. Kombucha cocktails, in fact, could be the healthiest you've ever served at any event. The trend is so hot in many cities around Texas that you can source the drinks locally. In Austin, there's Kosmic Kombucha; in Houston, it's Kickin' Kombucha; San Antonio boasts Element; and Fort Worth has Holy Kombucha. Beer and kombucha cocktail combos are popular-two fizzy beverages coming together to form a new whole. Gin is an ideal pairing-kombucha, like the juniper spirit, melds well with a range of fruits for refreshing combinations that can up its nutrient factor: blueberries, ginger, lemon, mint. It's an easy beverage for creative, healthful fun. Alright, first things first: cool name. But will the sci-fi street cred carry into the meeting room? Signs point to yes. Sure, the Oculus Rift, with its custom optics and immersive views is rife for gamers to latch onto, but it has business applications, too. Imagine being able to bring folks from all over the city, state or world into your meeting-throwing wide the doors of communication as we know it as attendees each enter a digital conference room where avatars can meet, network, discuss, create. Yes, face-to-face is important, but is it all-important in the face of travel budgets, environmental concerns, time restraints? This technology, as it develops, could be the lynchpin in creating a central meeting space that's as easy to get to as slipping on a pair of shades. Same goes for member education. Online learning still hasn't superseded real-time interaction, but the Oculus Rift can create spaces equivalent, allowing students to go "off-site" for field trips and engage in real time, classroom-like discussions. TALKING TECH: OCULUS RIFT 20 January/February 2016/Association LEADERSHIP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Association Leadership - January/February 2016

Communicating on Common Ground
Focus Pocus: The Magic of Single-Mindedness
Connect Texas Recap
Safe & Sound: Meeting Security in Today’s World

Association Leadership - January/February 2016