In 2018, we saw a tropical wave of tiki drinks, lots of veggie ingredients and an explosion of whiskey and bourbon cocktails. What will bartenders need to prepare for in 2019? To find out, Industry Juice pressed a few leading cocktail gurus for their predictions. Here’s what they spilled.
1. Culinary cocktails
Expect to see more restaurants featuring cocktail-driven dining experiences. “Bartenders are delving into the world of culinary mixology, where food and cocktails collide,” says Lynnette Marrero, Co-Founder Speed Rack, and Cocktail Director Llama Inn, Llama San NYC. So, when it comes to food pairings, wine is out. Cocktails are in.
2. Must-have ingredients
If you don’t know what butterfly pea flower tea is, you will. According to Gary Gruver, Senior Beverage Manager, Global Operations at Marriott International, this exotic ingredient is gaining traction for its taste and entertainment value (changes color). Gruver also predicts pineapple and passionfruit will be popular in 2019. That’s consistent with 2018 VIBE consumer research findings which show pineapple overtaking strawberry as the new #1 cocktail flavor, and passion fruit as the top emerging cocktail flavor. Looking for a fun pineapple-infused cocktail? Try the Urban Garden Margarita.
3. CBD-spiked cocktails
Known for its distinct flavor and mellowing effect, cannabidiol (CBD) has become smoking hot in the beverage sector. However, there’s one problem. “New regulations from government agencies make it confusing, particularly for packaged alcoholic products,” says Tobin Ellis, Principal of BarMagic of Las Vegas. “Meanwhile, bartenders are using CBD tinctures and CBD-infused ingredients during this sort of ‘wild west’ period of muddled regulation which will not last.” Will you be sipping your marijuana in 2019? It will depend on where you live and how regulations shake out.
According to Lynette Marrero, the concept of sustainable cocktails has been further fueled by the Skip the Straw movement. “Consumers are going to expect more re-usable ingredients.” This means drinks made from things like vegetable scraps, citrus rinds, and seeds that would otherwise be thrown away. Continuing with the zero-waste theme, there will also be more of an effort to conserve water and ice behind the bar. And of course, no plastic straws.
The trend for lower-proof cocktails is continuing to grow. “There will be a slew of producers like Seedlip giving depth to this category and we will see more in 2019,” says Gary Gruver. Mixologists are also embracing low-abv cocktails and aperitifs. Without high-proof spirits dominating drinks, there’s more room to experiment and build nuanced flavor profiles. Plus, you can enjoy a lot more of them.
6. All about health
Bartenders are already using vegetables, kombuchas, and cold-pressed juices to give cocktails a healthy upgrade. We can expect to see more of that in 2019. “Consumers are becoming increasingly better educated and health conscious, so they are buying less of the high-sugar, low-nutritional non-fresh packaged juices and opting for more fresh products,” says Tobin Ellis. Bottom line, we live in a health-conscious age and we’ll continue to see that reflected at the bar.
What cocktails will you be serving up in 2019? We’d love to hear from you. Maybe one of them will make it on to our recipe page!