Cocktail Culture

K – Kummel

One of our predictions for the next wave of interest, this is a digestif flavoured with caraway seed, among other things. Other predictions for categories on the move include genever and mezcal. 

L – Liquid

Like any trade, choosing the right tools for the job is important. Check out the boxes to see which products align themselves with which cocktails. 

M – Molecular mixology

This trend is set to continue according to Monin UK ambassador James Coston. He says: “Tony Conigliaro at 69 Colebrooke Row in London is pioneering some really interesting techniques that turn the art of cocktails into a science.” He cites the venue’s Prairie Oyster Bloody Mary – which includes clarified tomato juice, reformulated to resemble an egg yolk. 

N – NPD (or new product development to me and you)

Berry Bros & Rudd brands marketing director, spirits, Luke Tegner says cocktail culture has a “strong” influence on new product development. “There is little point in developing a sweet cream liqueur if cocktail makers are looking for aromatic, spiced modifiers. 

“Part of our decision to relaunch The King’s Ginger liqueur, which since 1903 had been a little-known tot for the well-healed, was the rise of cocktail culture and a realisation that there were just a few canny bartenders who had discovered it as a modifier and base of great drinks.”

O – Openings

New bars will increasingly be bartender–owned, according to Beefeater’s Stones. He says: “My guess is that we’ll continue to see more bartender-owned bars and those guys taking things back to basics some more and avoiding gimmicks, just concentrating on drink and service quality.”

P – Proof

The strength of a spirit plays a big part in the balance of a cocktail but it’s also a cultural thing. Le Fee’s Dodd explains: “High–proof spirits are growing in popularity in the US, whereas in Argentina there is a limit on the amount of alcohol in spirits, so naturally trends differ there. In Asia we see great diversity in drinking culture – from South Korea, where spirits are often ordered by the bottle, to Thailand, where classic cocktails are starting to become more prevalent.”

Q – Quality

BB&R Spirits’ Tegner says “continued premiumisation of product and also of service” is crucial to the future of the cocktail.

R – Ready to drink cocktails

These seem to divide the trade, much the same as Marmite divides diners. Nevertheless, they are a part of cocktail culture and from Beam’s Skinny Girl brand to the relatively new Bloom & Fentimans tonic, there’s a lot going on. 

G&J Greenall master distiller and Bloom creator Joanne Moore says: “In recent years we have seen popular cocktails created as RTDs that can be purchased in off–trade and consumed at home. The drinking occasion is moving more towards drinking at home rather than at the bars so the cocktail culture can influence category growth by encouraging and educating consumers on how to create your perfect serve easily at home.” 

S – Spices and herbs

Seasoning a cocktail is very important. Usually bitters is cited as the ‘salt and pepper’ of the cocktail world, but herb and spice infusions are still popular. Monin UK’s Coston says his company “reacted by developing our own Monin Rosemary and Monin Tarragon syrups”, which he says have proved popular.

T – Tiki

The rum revolution continues apace and with every rum launch comes a new nod to Tiki bars. Ron de Preter, global brand ambassador at Wenneker Distilleries, says the Tiki trend will carry on into 2014. UK Averna brand ambassador Michele Tuveri says bars such as Trailer Happiness and Mahiki have driven the trend. “This influenced the scene and even bars not predominantly Polynesian or Tiki in style adopted flamboyant glassware and garnishes,” he adds.