Linda Losey, cocktail expert and founder of Bloomery Plantation Distillery, on seven cocktail trends that prove that mixologists are thinking outside of the beverage industry box more than ever.
1. More Playfulness, Less Pretension – cheeky and whimsical brands and beverages kicking severe mixology to the curb. Preciousness and pomposity has taken a back seat to professionalism, opting for homespun hospitality over haughtiness. Cocktailing is becoming simpler with a lowbrow laid-back sensibility on the rise.
2. Small Batch is Still Big – the American Distilling Institute reports the meteoric rise in craft and micro distilleries, where true ingenuity is underway—the results of which are getting to market quicker than ever; Validating the power of craft, even the “big boys” are now getting into the small-batch business.
3. Simplicity Reigns Supreme – gone are the days where overzealous mixologists have something to prove, taking 15 minutes or more to perfect a drink. Now, simplified elixirs are at the forefront that require few ingredients and/or steps of preparation to create a killer craft cocktail—even at home.
4. Increasing Culinary Influence – fresh fruit, roots, nut and herb-laden libations are all the rage, even taking cues from the kitchen with imaginative culinary cocktail filled with farmed foodstuffs. Mixers with all-natural ingredients like Italian lemons, Hawaiian ginger, black walnuts and pumpkins are being utilized to craft distinctive, memorable and crave-worthy flavors.
5. Locavore Garden-to-Glass Libations – local and farm-fresh approaches to ingredient sourcing are taking root on cocktail menus. Garden grown is in, preservatives, concentrates or artificial ingredients are out. Indeed, craft cocktail distillers are turning hand-selected agricultural ingredients grown on their own or other neighboring American farms into 100 percent natural artisan liquors that are elevating cocktails, beers and other beverages like coffee and tea.
6. Moonshine Goes Gourmet – once just a novelty item, distillers are now getting creative proffering high-end premium spirits taking crafted cocktails to an incredible new level using time-honored recipes with a modern spin and hand-crafted technique.
7. Beer Cocktails – no longer reserved for the world of spirits, beer is being elevated with toppers and mixers taking barley and hops to a whole new level.