The Top 5 Trends for Bars

March 20, 2019

The Top 5 Trends for Bars


The report gathers the opinion of more than 130 seasoned bartenders, sommeliers and general managers from the group’s 80-plus restaurants and bars across 37 cities in the US and in selected locations in Europe and the Caribbean.

From Aperol Frosé to drinks inspired by savory dishes, here’s a closer look at the major cocktail trends next year.

  1. Elevated mocktails

One of the biggest changes in next year’s cocktail menu will be a larger selection of mocktails—with 80% of the bartenders surveyed noting they will incorporate more non-alcoholic options on their menus. Instead of your run-of-the-mill mixes with grenadine and fruit juice, there will be more creative use of house-made syrups and tonics, fermented ingredients and non-alcoholic spirits. . In short, mocktails will be more “complex and intriguing than ever.”

  1. Focus on sustainability

Sustainability has long been a global issue, so it’s natural that more and more food and beverage businesses are actively looking to reduce bar waste. Aside from considering sustainability during the design process for new drinks, according to 88% of the bartenders, many have come up with different ways to use their resources more wisely, such as incorporating more edible garnishes, adding bee hives on-site, serving room-temperature cocktails, and portioning fewer ingredients in multiple items.

  1. Unexpected ingredients and pairings

Who knew chorizo, anchovy, perennial grains, endive, black sapote and blessed thistle could make their way into cocktails? Beyond these bizarre ingredients, there will be a number of unexpected elements likely to give cocktail drinkers a surprise or two next year. Bartenders will take one step further with vegetable cocktails and mix in more obscure choices such as tomatillo, chayote, fiddleheads, jicama and sunchoke. Since experimentation is clearly key here, these extraordinary flavor combinations will extend to food as well—in the form of fun and unusual food and beverage matchups such as wild boar heart and burgundy; oysters and gin; crickets and pisco; Latin cuisine and scotch; plus my favorite, champagne and fried chicken.

  1. Mushroom-infused drinks

Mushrooms are commonly known for their nutrients, but is it something you’d want in a cocktail? Nearly 70% of bartenders surveyed believe it is, as they’re coming up with new concoctions using the healthy ingredient, ranging from the more predictable mushroom broth or tea to funkier choices such as fungi Irish coffee, mushroom- and thyme-infused vodka, and mushroom tea mixed with sparkling wine.

  1. Food-inspired cocktails

The line between food and drink seems to grow thinner and thinner as savory cocktails become more popular. For instance, there are Cacio e Pepe martinis and gyro-inspired gin cocktails with cucumber, mint, Greek yogurt and lemon. Considering the savory elements that are already found in cocktails nowadays, such as bone broth, Szechuan peppercorns, beets, gravy, and bacon, the sky’s really the limit here, according to Mike Ryan, Director of Bars at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. As a result, "[a] lot of these influences come directly from the kitchen. There might be a flavor profile a bartender loves in a particular dish and he or she figures out how to bring that to life in a cocktail."