Cocktail Culture

B – Barrel ageing 

Oscar Dodd, business development manager for Le Fee absinthe, says barrel ageing started gaining popularity last year. 

One outlet, The Worship Street Whistling Shop in London, currently offers six barrel-aged cocktails and you can even get them to age one of your own creations. Try WS ‘Genever’: Tanqueray gin, Caol Ila Scotch, green malt, spices, sherry oak. £10.

C – Classics

There is a resurgence in popularity of simple and classic cocktail serves such as the Negroni, according to Giuseppe Gallo, global brand ambassador for Martini. Adding personal or signature twists to these drinks is also apparent – like the Negroni Slushy at Parson’s Chicken & Fish in Chicago. 

D – Draught cocktails

Le Fee’s Oscar Dodd says  “draught cocktails deliver great consistency and speed of serve”. Indeed, the house Old Fashioned was ready before the beer was poured on a recent visit to The Baxter Inn, Sydney. The Spoon Bar in Healdsburg, California offers six ‘cocktails on tap’, including Punch.  

E – Eggs

A staple cocktail ingredient for many classic cocktails, including sours, fizzes and flips. 

F – Food pairing

As the line between bartender and chef becomes increasingly blurred, food pairing is the next logical step. Pago mixing brand ambassador Mario Hofferer says: “We can forecast that the kitchen and bar scene will interact more and more and fit together. The best bars in the world work a lot with foodpairing, aiming to create a whole new taste experience.” 

And it doesn’t have to be a whole meal.Matthias Lataille, UK brand ambassador for Olmeca Altos, tequila says: “It is becoming increasingly popular to accompany cocktails with confectionary on the side, such as chocolate truffles. This adds an extra dimension to the experience of drinking a well–crafted cocktail. In both cases, the garnishing complements the drink very well.”

G – Garnishes/Glassware

Martini’s Gallo puts it like this: “There is still demand for theatre in the cocktail world. We are seeing big, attention-grabbing garnishes and alternative glassware in many of the top outlets, such as tea cups or even sea shells. Oversized modern garnishes or unusual glassware are a good way for an outlet to showcase their creativity as well as making the experience a difficult one to forget.”

H – Homemade

From bitters to liqueurs, tinctures and sugar syrups, the desire to create new products has not abated. 

UK Averna brand ambassador Michele Tuveri says: “Bartenders are aiming at preparing in-house whatever they can, from syrups to liqueurs to garnishes and even glassware (hollowed out pineapples, frozen hollowed out oranges and pomelos, coconuts).” Pago’s Hofferer describes it as “the only way a bartender can work without limits”. 

I – Ice

For a while, innovation with ice was the preserve of the Japanese bartender but ’tenders around the globe are starting to understand its importance as an ingredient all on its own. Whether it’s a diamond, a ball, crushed or in large cubes, it plays a role in how a drink tastes. 

J – Joint efforts

Earlier this year, Diageo held a competition to find a new spirit. A Bristol bartender won the chance to see her brand go into production. Dee Davies’ spirit – Jinzu – is a distilled gin “with a heart of sake”. Davies is now entitled to 5% of the net sales for the first five years of the product launch. Watch this space for cocktail innovations.