Trends in the 2019 cocktail scene
Next year’s cocktails will see a bolder turn as bartenders start working with new ingredients, innovative flavors, and courageous combinations.
The rise of creative culinary chefs in the 1990s continues to influence the cocktail scene. In 2019, we’ll expect to see bartenders, sommeliers, and mixologists will go experiment with unusual ingredients and combining innovative flavors that drinkers haven’t been introduced to before. Particularly, we can expect to see vegetables we don’t normally get to see in a cocktail. Think chayote, endives, and black sapote. The bold pairings will also extend to drink-food combinations. If you haven’t had champagne and fried chicken before, you just might be able to try it soon at a bar near you.
Customers are no longer content with a plain old cube of ice in their cocktail, and bars are stepping up to meet the demand with the help of premium ice makers like a Scotsman commercial ice maker or a Manitowoc commercial ice maker. We can expect more than ice cubes next year. We’ll find ice spheres made from bubble-free, double-distilled water. We’ll have impeccably hand-chipped ice, flaming ice balls, and even smoked melted in a smoker and frozen again to give cocktails a dark, smoky flavor.
Take going local to the next level by foraging your local fields and forests for ingredients that can be added to your cocktails. In 2019, the local terroir won’t just be influencing the wine scene. Cocktails infused with the flavors of the land will make it big next year. Think cocktails steeped with foraged lavender, nettle, and thimbleberries.
Customers are consuming less alcohol but that doesn’t mean bars are going to close up shop anytime soon. The key is for bartenders to cater to the needs of their patrons, which means we’ll be seeing better mocktails beyond the obvious grenadine and fruit juice combination. Next year, bars will be serving more alcohol-free drinks made from premium ingredients, house-made syrups, and non-alcoholic spirits.
The line between the kitchen and the bar continues to grow thinner as bartenders are increasingly looking to the pantry and kitchen stores for fresh, new ingredients to add to their mixes. We’ll find cocktails that surprisingly taste good with savory ingredients nobody would have expected, such as bacon, bone broth, and gravy. Some bartenders are even taking inspiration from food items and turning them into a cocktail, such as gyro cocktails made from gin, Green yogurt, cucumber, mint, and lemon.
Who says cocktail isn’t good for you? The health and fitness trend has reached even the cocktail scene as more and more bars are offering health-conscious customers with better options for their weekly nights out. We’ll find cocktails made from vitamin-rich vegetables, such as cucumber, carrots, and beets, as well as fruits that give them a sweet, tangy flavor, like mangoes, pomegranates, and antioxidant-rich berries.
Drinks and desserts in one is a great way to satisfy your sugar and alcohol cravings in a single glass, especially when you have kids around. The trend of spiking milkshakes and ice cream floats started at restaurants serving burgers and beer, but bars are cashing in on the trend in 2019 to cater to the sweet tooth crowd. We can expect to see everything, from elaborate decorated towering drinks spiked with booze of your choice to more low-key cider drinks with a shot of whiskey and butterscotch liqueur.