Trends in every industry are always changing and it is important to stay up to date with what is the “Next big thing.” The bar industry is no different. Whether it is an up-and-coming spirit taking the spotlight, new culinary cocktails, new flavors, or old trends coming back into style—it is important to stay current so your bar can be the most trending establishment in your area. Below are a few of the trends that are projecting to be popular in 2018.
Gin: The Next Big Craft Spirit
Gin flourished in popularity in 2017 and is now growing to be one of the most popular spirits in 2018. The main reason why it has grown in popularity is because more and more distilleries are producing it and putting their own twist on it. Many distilleries are turning to gin to bring in some extra money while they are waiting for their bourbon to age.
Many gin distilleries are crafting their own gin with character that reflects the part of the country that it is made. The shift towards more local flavors has come at the cost of the traditional juniper flavors. There are some distilleries who choose to mask it all together or to lighten it and have other flavors that complement the juniper flavors. With the risen popularity, there has been less juniper available to produce mass quantities.
Many times when a bar or restaurant is trying to come up with a new cocktail program it usually starts in the kitchen. One new idea that is trending for bars is to use vegetable juices in cocktails instead of just fruit juices. Some people could think that this is crazy to do but veggies can serve the same purpose as some fruits. For example, carrots could provide bright flavors and beets could provide a deep sweetness to a drink. Cocktails are starting to be inspired by an even wider range of flavors, cuisines, spices and ingredients.
Bitter flavors in food and cocktails have started becoming a new favorite around the United States. As customers become more accustomed to this, the Paloma and other bitter drinks will become more popular and in demand. One of the ingredients to a traditional Paloma is grapefruit flavored Jarritos, a soft drink from Mexico. There are companies like Q Soda who are creating grapefruit soda with the Paloma specifically in mind. With soda companies now making a push to produce ready-made grapefruit sodas for bars, they have the potential to become more widely available than Jarritos. With local soda companies making grapefruit soda, it will not only make it easier for bars to buy the soda but it will also simplify how bartenders make Palomas. With more and more consumers wanting flavored soda drinks, the Paloma has a chance to grow in popularity like Moscow Mules and ginger beer. The Paloma is usually made with grapefruit, lime juice, soda and some salt.
Onsite Barrel-Aged Drinks
For a while now at high-end locations, barrel-aged cocktails have been becoming a favorite. Not only because of the flavors that are able to be obtained, but also because of science and a general curiosity of the process. The process involves placing pre-mixed drinks into barrels for a few weeks. This changes the flavor and mellows the mix in the same way wine and distilled spirits are aged. Some popular drinks that are getting this spin include punches, pre-batched, rye Manhattans and even Negronis. The same barrel that Manhattans are aged in can also be used to age Negronis. This results in a truly unique Negroni taste that carries over some of the distinct Manhattan flavor.