The very definition of the word trend means to veer in a general direction or to show a tendency. Below are five beverages on my radar for the coming months, rooted in hard data but sourced from what I’m seeing and hearing in the New York scene.
The surge of nutritionally-aware (if not nutritionally-balanced) cocktails is imminent. You read it here first. We’ve seen this theme gain momentum in the culinary community with fresh, season-driven menus. This philosophy is extending into beverage programs as well. Two examples:
-Mixologists are increasingly using natural natural sweeteners like maple syrup as a healthy and tasty alternatives to refined sugar in cocktails. Here are 27 examples, courtesy of Eater and bar programs around the country.
-Opening next week, Rouge Tomate Chelsea, with its avant-garde SPE-certified food and beverage program, is featuring cocktails (and mocktails) with fresh ingredients like carrot and cucumber juice and chia seeds.
Whether high-brow or low-brow, large format bottles are showing up on more home and restaurant tables. There are also restaurants who are putting an emphasis on bigger bottles in their by-the-glass programs, either noting which by-the-glass selections come from magnums (or larger), or even by offering all glass pours from magnum-only (like Mr. Donahue’s). I personally think it’s rooted in an increased focus on shared experience and community. Not to mention that it’s generally accepted that magnums are the perfect format in which to age special wines.
Coffee as a spirits flavor has been popular for awhile – the espresso martini appeared on the scene in the early 1980s and Patron XO Café launched back in 1992.
However, with the boom in non-alcoholic cold brew, coffee is reemerging as a cocktail ingredient. According to Euromonitor, the U.S. ready-to-drink coffee market has been growing by double digits annually since 2011, and is expected to reach nearly $3.6 billion by 2020, approaching levels comparable to Japan, currently the market leader.
Insider tip: My friend and cocktail guru Wendy Crispell uses cold brew coffee alongside dark rum, amaro, cardamom bitters, homemade vanilla bean syrup and cream (topped with a little soda water) to create a sophisticated, savory concoction.
The hard cider segment continues to outpace the beer category as a whole. According to stats presented at CiderCon in February 2016, cider volume grew 12 percent in 2015 to 30 million cases, compared to 4.2 million cases in 2009 (Jon London, head of marketing for Boston Beer Co.’s cider division (Angry Orchard).
Beyond the commercial players, the U.S. craft cider industry is experiencing a renaissance and receiving strong accolades (think Steampunk, Aaron Burr). Besides showcasing crisp apple flavors often associated with fall, it can also provide drinkers with a naturally low-alcohol option.
Demand for mescal continues to outpace supply over the last five years, and what was once viewed as a lesser cousin to tequila has now firmly established itself as a favorite high-end ingredient in the craft cocktail movement. It’s smoky, nuanced flavors pair perfectly with fall weather. Here are 15 recipes you can make yourself, courtesy of Saveur.