Hand crafted, artisan, and infused were once terms reserved for food, but are now applicable to today’s cocktails and mocktails. Where once customers ordered a pre-dinner cocktail with their favorite brand of alcohol, now they are offered a variety of options. Small batch, local brands, or flavor selections that include produce options from around the world are combinations only the most skilled mixologist could dream up.
The resurgence of cocktails beyond a pre-dinner thirst quencher can, in part, be attributed to the customer desire for balance between the daily hustle and bustle of life and what they perceive or remember as a simpler time when things like cocktails took time and were created, not just mass produced. In the last several years, there has been a revival of yester-year cocktails, such as the Old Fashioned, Manhattan and even blended cocktails, allowing a bartenders license to design cocktails delivering on trends to enhance customer experience yet allowing the operator for a premium price point.
Simply made - Less is more in all aspect of the culinary experience and drinks are no exception. Consumers are seeking handmade beverage options made with local, fresh, seasonal and simple ingredients. Consumers are more readily educated when it comes to handmade cocktails so they understand perfection is worth the wait.
Culinary inspiration - A slice of lemon or lime no longer cuts it when it comes to crafty cocktail enhancers. Today’s mixologists are looking to the kitchen to inspire their concoctions. Food influences seen from flavor infusions in the liquor, to impeccable garnishes that double as flavor enhancers. Some of the top cocktail flavor options for bartenders in 2016 include sweet potatoes and fruit-infused vinegars to add the next layer of complexity.
Artisan Ice - The importance of ice to a cocktail has also been raised to new heights. While once just a way to cool a beverage while customers sipped away, bartenders and beverage connoisseurs alike have become ice educated. Now armed with the knowledge of how ice can affect the overall drink experience like how the rate of dilution affects flavor or how it should complement a particular drink.
Choice - Expectations have changed when it comes to the craft of cocktails. As mixologists have increased creativity and consumers have grown more sophisticated, so has the desire for increased variety when it comes to cocktails. Customers not only want choice in type and brand of liquor, but also in level of alcohol, allowing them to create the perfect individual cocktail to their unique specification.