What will your cocktail menu look like this spring?
Wait, are you not creating a new cocktail menu to capture the life-giving flavors of spring? Well, you should. Seasonally-inspired menus are a great way to excite customers and can drum up new business if your menu is marketed properly. If you need some inspiration, take a look at 2017’s spring cocktail trends.
Vodka Is Back and the Martini Reinvents Itself
For some, vodka has always been the base spirit of choice. But the recently, cocktail trendsetters ignored vodka in favor of dark spirits and little known amaro. But vodka has its place. And it can be a great mixer for cocktails when you want to showcase big flavors but present them in a crowd friendly way.
- Appreciation for vodka-based cocktails is coming back because the spirit is cost and consumer friendly
- The reinvention of the martini will continue
- The cosmopolitan and other cocktails like it are being reintroduce with high quality ingredients
Yes, vodka is a bit of a populist spirit. By law it is flavorless, odorless, and tasteless. It’s an easy mixer to throw in with soda or juice. But as culinary cocktails continue to gain popularity, vodka is being seen as a great canvas to cover with bold flavors like passion fruit or banana. These types of bright, island-inspired flavors will be trending this spring. And vodka is an easy spirit to mix with these bold flavors.
The tropical craze will take over other spirits, too. Botanical gin and earthy tequila are perfect for pairing with bright fruit flavors. Take a look at this beautiful passion fruit cocktail from the Kimpton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Martinis – The David Bowie of Cocktails?
The martini has been with us for a long, long time. And it’s reinvented itself constantly through out its existence. The martini could be called the David Bowie of cocktails. The drink and the iconic artist share similarities in their many reinventions and continued popularity. Before Bowie’s unfortunate passing in 2016, it seemed like he would never stop finding new ways to excite fans with new music and styles. And, despite the unpopularity of vodka and the martini during the great cocktail revival, martinis are now finding their place in the modern cocktail world. Punch wrote a great article, Meet the New Martini, in summer 2016, and it highlights how versatile the drink is.
Spring is a great time of year to offer lively and creative martinis on your menu. Whether you opt for a classic gin martini, or want to toy with a vodka-based creation, it’s now cool to serve martinis again.
Love for the Cosmo
Drinks like the infamous Cosmopolitan started as fresh ideas and were turned into My Little Pony sugar bombs, with unnaturally bright colors and enough sugar to sink a ship. But gauche cocktails like the cosmo, sex on the beach, or the mai tai are gain favor again by being made with fresh ingredients instead of pre-bottled mixers.
- Pre-batched cocktails are speeding up bar service
- Bottled cocktails are a fun way to serve drinks and keep service running smoothly
We wrote about pre-batched cocktails in our Cocktail Trends for 2017 article in November. As bartenders realize that speed and consistency are as important as mixing complex drinks, pre-batched cocktails are becoming more and more useful for bars and restaurants that are conscious of service.
The Return of The Soda Keg
Before bars and restaurants used bags of syrup for their soda guns, they used to serve soda from small kegs that are commonly referred to as soda kegs. Good bartenders love to repurpose old tools and let nothing go to waste, and now old soda kegs are being used for draft cocktails and carbonating bottled cocktails. Bottled cocktails are fun and inventive because they offer a new presentation for complex drinks and help bartenders stay out of the weeds.
Clean Flavors Give Cocktails A Bright Future
- Rum drinks will focus on simplicity
As culinary cocktails continue to gain popularity, clean flavors are becoming more sought after. Like the ceviche boom in restaurants, these drinks are light and refreshing, and at their best when kept simple. It’s important for bartenders to extract complex and pleasing flavors from limited ingredients. Some cocktail lists read like a physic’s textbook – they confuse more than they excite. Bartenders are finding beauty in simplicity.
The rum category continues to grow. Its resurgence is in part, thanks to the passion projects of bartenders who wanted to uncover the lost culture of tiki-style cocktails. While fun and adventurous, those drinks are complex and can be labor intensive. Rum will continue to find fans but will do so more with simple, clean cocktails like the three ingredient Daiquiri: Rum, sugar, lime. Expect to see more daiquri inspired simplicity, along with its Brazilian cousin, the caipirinha.