Cocktail Trend Predictions – 2013

This is my favourite time of year to watch television and scan the internet. The end of the year always brings the re-caps and top 10/25/50/100 lists of all walks of life; Sports, Gossip, Music, Movies. Even the best of all-time lists start emerging. Granted there are always only slight changes to these lists (if any at all!)

Once you’re bored of the top 10 re-caps, the prediction lists start coming out. What will next year bring? While most of this garbage doesn’t help develop my brain in any way other than fill a half-hour void watching television, the odd list stands out. What was hot in 2012 for Cocktails? What did the pro’s think was going to be popular? What are the same pro’s saying about 2013?

In December of 2011, published their cocktail trend predictions for 2012. Have you seen any of these show up on the menu in your local? (my notes in parenthesis for elaboration)

1) Vinegar cocktails (this includes both shrub use and chasers eg: Pickleback)

2) Crafty 1970s- and 1980s-era cocktails (think re-makes of Harvey Wallbangers and revitalization of the style of drink popularized by TGI Friday and the like).

3) Pre-Made Cocktails (Batching and punch to ease up on the stress of the bartender)

4) Bottled / Carbonated cocktails (pre-bottling drinks and pre-cabonating with a siphon without diluting)

5) Keg Cocktails (Taking over a beer line to serve a pre-made cocktail)

6) New Uses for Marg Machines (My favourite that I never saw in use. Imagine a slushy Corpse Reviver # 2)

7) Nightclub Cocktails (Night Club atmosphere, craft cocktail drinking)

8 ) Rise of Rum (Wayne Curtis is leading this charge of rum interest)

9) Party booze (The triumphant(?) return of Blue Curacao, Jager & Hpnotiq)

10) Skinny drinks (oh Skinny Girl)

So, were they right? I know for certain that at least 7 of those got play in Vancouver. Now, what are they saying for 2013? Well…

Camper English –

1) Carbonation (we’ll see an on-going use of siphons and perlini units to change the structure of typically non-fizzy drinks – will this go mainstream?)

2) Molecular Mixology 2.0
 (another chapter in the cocktail caviar and molecular game… are we ready?)

3) Meat at the Bar
 (Don Lee’s Benton’s Old Fashioned was just the beginning. Crossover from Butcher to bartender will grow vast in 2013. Probably due to every bartender’s love of bacon)

4) Low-Impact Liquor
 (I’ve had an Adonis on my cocktail list for years. In this age of strict Drinking and Driving laws it is essential to offer Mocktails or Zero-proof lists)

5) Slow Drinks, Faster
 (Old Fashioned cocktails need 6 minutes to be made properly, Fact or Fiction?)

1) Big Garnish (Garnish can cost up to 25% of the drink’s pour cost. It can also turn an $7.50 drink into a $12 proper cocktail. Customer value perception is key here)

2) YouTube (Self promotion of bartenders through a free service. Who needs TV and print media when twitter and facebook get your face on everyone’s laptop, pc and mobile device?)

3) Fun (Bartending is about service and people. Loosen up those bow ties and arm bands and pour yourself a shot. Maybe shave that curled up moustache and smile for a minute while you’re at it)

International Hotel & Restaurant Association

What’s Hot bartender survey – top 10 drink menu trends for 2013: 

(This is a survey that was taken by bartending professionals all over the United Sates)

1. Onsite barrel-aged drinks (not so much a new trend… see Jeffrey Morganthaler circa 2011)

2. Food-liquor/cocktail pairings (Tales of the Cocktail has trademarked the phrase “Spirited Dinner.” In Vancouver look no further than Kale & Nori’s Bittered Sling Bistro)

3. Culinary cocktails (e.g. savory, fresh ingredients) (Rosemary is a staple in many drinks. Basil too)

4. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor (Pricey if you live in BC, but craft-made products are the way to go)

5. Locally produced spirits (seems like the same as #4)

6. Locally sourced fruit/berries/produce (Again, the bartender visiting the farmer’s market with chef is no new trend)

7. Beer sommeliers/Cicerones (the next big thing – you heard it here first)

8. Regional signature cocktails (Derek Vanderheide’s Port Authority was on at least 9 cocktail lists in Vancouver, and two in Seattle. Drinks that define cities are how epic drinks like the Manhattan became classics)

9. Beer-based cocktails (Beer Cocktails? Never heard of em… )

10. Locally produced beer (Welcome to Vancouver: Parallel 49, Powell St Brewery, R&B Brewing, Steamworks, Red Truck et al.)

TK’s Predictions – I can’t put together a comprehensive list without putting myself out there. Here are Trevor Kallies’ cocktail trend predictions of 2013. Let’s see how I do:

1. Cask Proof Cocktails (using cask-strength or over-proof spirits in classic recipes)

2. Old/Forgotten Spirit Styles (Old Tom Gin, Sloe gin, long-ou-of-production spirits will make a comeback in 2013)

3. Crossover Drinks (drinks that use kitchen techniques, or new uses for old tools and products)

4. The Death of the Speakeasy (not so much the Death of, but hopefully new bar owners can come up with new ways to describe their design other than “prohibition-themed” or “Chicago circa 1930.” this also goes for theme events, 2010 was Mad Men, but the last 2 years have been Boardwalk Empire)

5. Bitters (More than just homemade or new styles. I predict bitters being used in a whole new light – Full ounces in drinks, shots of, and even using to cook.

So there you have it! The trends of this past year and some predictions of the year to come. Let us know your cocktail trend predictions in the comment section, or if you know of a great bar doing a good job of any of these let us know that also.