What a year 2018 has been for the cocktail and the bar industry indeed!
From floral garnishes to smoke and fog, there always seems to be something new in the world of concoctions. Bartenders have been brewing portions and serving magic in our tipples. Ordering a drink at the bar and clicking for the gram is made exciting right from behind the bar.
We got hold of our expert, Zachary Abbott – Brand Ambassador for Reserve & Luxury, Diageo India to give us a low-down on the top cocktail trends of 2018. We got him to reveal some of the secrets that spill from the jigger right into our martini glasses just before we go cheers!
Hear, all about it from the Bartending Guru himself…
Trends can generally be split into two categories. The first are trends that come and go. A perfect example would be bell-bottom trousers and flair bartending. Like bell-bottoms, flair bartending has had its time: mostly the 1970 – 80’s. However, saying this a small resurgence that is making its way into Indian bars perhaps due to one of the world’s largest flair bartending competitions making its way into the country this year.
To make it clear, there is nothing wrong with flair bartending, if it does not impede the speed of which a guest receives his beverage. Like bell bottom pants this trend seems to keep making its way back into popular opinion once every decade or so.
Another trend more on a mixology scene would be the use of Umami (Japanese for delicious) styled cocktails. Umami for those who don’t know is one of the five basic tastes (sweet, sour, bitter salty and umami) Umami to put it simply would be savory, mostly comprising of tomato, cheese and bacon.
Image Credits: Johnnie Walker Twitter Page
Not to say this will not be a trend that infiltrates itself into the standard operating procedure of each bartender’s mind when creating drinks and more over cocktail lists, but from now onwards the level and number of these cocktails on a menu will surely diminish significantly.
The second kind of trend is one that starts as trend and becomes encompassed into the society in which it was originally trending. A perfect example is probably the most important trend we have seen in years, sustainability.
Apart from World Class 2018 (the most revered bartending competition in the world, run by Diageo) focusing on sustainability this year it has been slowly building for some time throughout the bar fraternity. The sustainability movement is arguably the best thing that has ever happened to the planet and by proxy, the industry. Bars are removing plastic by the ton.
These venues and even large global hotels chains are dropping plastic for paper and are reviewing their carbon footprint in every way possible. This is due to two reasons - one: generally it is more cost effective to go green, the other is that yes it is a trend and therefore popular within the general public and a tool that can be used in marketing their venue or cocktail program.
Whatever it may be, sustainability is here to stay or the earth isn’t, take your pick.
* A bartender’s tip, if you don’t want a straw, tell the bartender. Save that tree, the planet will thank you for it.
Image Credits: jermynstreetjournal.com
And the other trend is social media. When I was a young bartender there was no such thing as social media. If you didn’t know a cocktail you had two choices, admit your shortcomings or run out the back and pray that old dusty cocktail book had the desired potion ordered. These days it is bartender’s and bar owners’ prerogative to spread the mixology gospel through Facebook, Instagram and other such social media like it is going out of fashion, but here is the thing it isn’t going to.
Free advertising is free, ergo everyone and their barback (a bartender’s sidekick) will be indulging. I won’t at this point get into the pros and cons of the complexities and intricacies of the relationship shared between bars, bartenders and the social media but to saturate an already competitive market will generally breed excellence. Social media is here to stay, in one format or another.