While the impacts of the pandemic are still being felt in bars and pubs, consumers do want to get out and about again. In fact, with the cost-of-living crisis, people are seeing nights out as a special occasion, and are willing to pay for the right experience. Here are some reigning drink trends that will see happy patrons at your venue.
Expect More “Guilty Pleasure” Cocktails
Bartenders will double down on combining escapism and nostalgia into whimsical drinks, whether based on rediscovered classics from the ’90s or comforting dessert-style cocktails. Social media-worthy visuals will also be part of the package.
The espresso martini, for example, has made a major comeback this year so it seems right that other classic cocktails are ripe for a resurgence. The recognition and simplicity of these cocktails are perfect tools for a bartender to experiment and innovate.
Low- and No-Alcohol Drinks Will Command Attention
Across the board, bartenders say they plan to serve drinks that will appeal to those who are limiting or omitting alcohol.
Lauren “LP” Paylor O’Brien, proprietor of consultancy LPDrinks and season one winner of Netflix’s Drink Masters, foresees a focus on understanding no- and low-alcohol products and the ways to incorporate them into drinks to make the best end product.
This trend is supported by the rise in non-alcoholic bottlings and premixed drinks, as well as retailers and e-commerce platforms selling those products.
The Ascent of Agave Spirits Will Continue
It’s no secret that tequila and mezcal sales have been on a tear the last couple of years, driven by the luxury spirits sector, celebrity-backed bottles and the continued appeal of margaritas and other cocktails. But agave spirits have still tailed vodka in terms of sales.
That may be poised to change; data tracker Allied Market Research predicts that the global tequila market is poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6 percent from 2022 to 2031. Experts credit the increased transparency in the process of how tequila is made for this rise.
TikTok is the New Home for Drinkspiration
Facebook’s fading, Twitter’s on the rocks and even Instagram just doesn’t seem the same since Reels took over the algorithm. Increasingly, #drinkfluencers are finding #drinkspo on #drinktok. Whatever the hashtag of the moment is (#toktails? #whiskeytok?), this is where the drink hacks, tutorials and trends are bubbling up first. That’s likely to accelerate in the year ahead.
TikTok has been the top app by worldwide downloads in every quarter since the start of 2021, according to a report by Sensor Tower, which puts the most recent count at 3.5 billion all-time downloads. We’ve also already seen how TikTok is breaking down barriers for wine content producers.
However, TikTok’s strict policies against alcohol-related content—intended to protect its younger demographic—may keep booze brands at bay. At least, for now.
Bar Masters in the Spotlight
Bar professionals are set to rise to the level of high-end chefs in public opinion with experts pointing to the Netflix series Drink Masters as a signal that star-makers and consumers are ready to embrace the cachet of bartenders alongside chefs, pastry chefs and restaurateurs.
The Final Frontier - Sipping in Space?
According to trend-watcher Mintel, chaos on Earth will spur innovators to set their sights on space exploration as a source of food and drink inspiration, and it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.
In September 2022, Champagne house G.H. Mumm revealed the first Champagne designed for human spaceflight, with a foam that coats the mouth; Scotland’s Ardbeg (see the newly released Hypernova bottling) and Japan’s Suntory have already experimented with sending their whiskies to space; and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is already booking reservations for space tourism.