It’s always difficult to say what will be the thing for the next year in any business (except for horseshoes and things like frying pans probably).
In cocktails that’s even more difficult. If you observe closely, you can see a trend movement with the bartenders, which is not necessarily picked up by the big public. Bartendertrends move very fast and some of them do stay, but a lot of them go as easily as they came (like Dries Botty’s awesome beard).
And then there’s the public trend movement, flowing much slower obviously, sometimes picking up bartender trends and sometimes coming up with something completely different (mostly something from brand marketing or television series). Of course there’s nothing wrong with this, apart from the sole fact that it makes predicting trends a bit of a headscratching task.
Headscratchingly enough to put on a turban and take a look in my crystal (ice)ball.
The Cocktail Nation’s totally random prophecy of cocktailtrends for 2014:
Tiki for the summer
This one will happen, I’m sure of it or I want it too much. Tiki is popular and the drinks are very accessible, unless you hate rum. We will have no less then 2 Tiki bars by the summer (Appleton Tiki Bar, Antwerp and The Drifter, Ghent) and most high-end coctkailbars will and already do put Tikis on the menu, especially in hot summertimes.
Punch for the BBQ’s and Homeparties
People not only demand more quality drinks in their bars, but also on their own gardenparties. A slapdash, wannabe “Sangria” from plastic bottles won’t do anymore, make a bowl of punch.
More vermouths, enjoyed pure or in a cocktail
We see more and more bars serving more than one vermouth. Winebars also are joining in on this. In Italy we even see special vermouthbars or “vermouterias” appearing and globally we notice a much welcomed diversity in vermouths, American, Spanish and English brands are rising.
The same goes for the amaros en quinquinas
Maybe it is better to say ‘the same might eventually happen’ for the amaros en quinquinas. But in this stage today, it is what I’ve called a bartendertrend, I think. Fernet Branca for instance almost has a cult-following in American bartenderscenes who happily knock back shots of the pure stuff.
Cocktails and restaurants
Gin & Tonic already has a fixed spot on the menus, other simple, but decent made cocktails will follow over time.
Less ingredients used in cocktails, less complexity, less infusions, …
Not that there is anything wrong with complex cocktails, I think it was rather a result of a relatively long period of global experimentation with tastes and techniques since the beginning of the cocktail rennaissance. And now we are at a point where lots of knowledge is spread and shared and put into action.
It is in my opinion a sure tell sign that the cocktail-boom is balancing out and becoming firmly rooted. It’s not a hype anymore, hypes disappear. It is the slow birth of a cocktail culture.