Monday, 27 January 2014

2014 Drinks Trend Predictions

By Lucienne Simpson

Last year, with the release of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, we fully embraced the roaring 20s - it seemed everyone attended Prohibition-themed cocktail parties, speakeasies were popping up at every opportunity, and coupes were by far the glassware of choice.

With this saw a change in our drinking habits. For a start, there was the decline of the long-listed cocktail. You know the sort: an endless number of ingredients – a drop of this, a dash of that, rinse your glass with something else – all of which would be impossible to recreate at home... probably because you lost interest after watching the first few things go in. 
Pumpkin cocktail taken from Dinner Series'

Instead, we went back to the classics: simpler drinks, with only three or four components and room for variations - lots of hard spirits, vermouth, bitters, citrus, served straight up. Let’s face it, we hated those pint-sized, super sweet, fruit juice “cocktails” of yester-year anyway. Now, with the majority of Christmas and NYE parties jumping on the 1920’s bandwagon, the speakeasy thing feels done, and we’re ready for something fresh.

With January resolutions in mind, we like to have a bit of a detox after a season of festive indulgence, so for those who aren’t off the sauce, perhaps a trend in vegetable cocktails might be of interest. Tomato juice in a Bloody Mary is commonplace on most menus, but how do you feel about an earthy beetroot version? Or a Margarita mixed with carrot juice? I tried a kale cocktail at London’s Duck & Waffle recently, which ticked all the taste sensation boxes, but if you’re not feeling so adventurous, something like a pumpkin bellini might be a safer place to start.

Vintage is always in vogue, so maybe we’ll see more old-fashioned tipples making a comeback in 2014. Forgotten drinks such as Benedictine and Chartreuse currently seem to be in favour with mixologists, so I expect we’ll be seeing more of those. Sherry’s had bit of a revival of late too, but how about its fortified French friend Dubonnet? (Yes Ma’am, it’s the Queen’s favourite apparently.)

I think we’re much more interested in having decent drinks now (gone are the days of settling for house spirits), and just as we are enthusiastic about drinking it, people are enthusiastic about making it. The notions of ‘artisanal’ and ‘craft’ have boomed in the past few years, and will only increase - yes, more small-scale distilleries and microbreweries creating top-notch booze, please. 

With this in mind, people are getting more inventive in the pre-mixed cocktail world too (see you later Bacardi Breezer) and a cursory glance at your local supermarket shelves will reveal a plethora of big brands like Gordons popping up claiming to take the work out of cocktails. There are also more premium brands such as The Handmade Cocktail Company, Tails and My Cocktail. That said, I’m not convinced: personally, I like the theatrics of a bar tender (or me) and shaker...

Overall, I think 2014 will see stripped back drinks menus, with more emphasis on ‘bespoke’, more neat spirits (I predict tequila and mezcal) and unusual grape varieties making the headlines in the wine department...

I’ll toast to that.

Top photo from Karen OD's photostream under the CCL.

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