Cocktail trends to embrace:
- Chef cocktails. More chefs are getting behind the bar and mixing up drinks. A great example of this is Chicago's Grant Achatz. The chef, who made his name at Alinea, has recently opened a bar called Aviary.
- Heat. See a drink that has muddled jalapeño or serrano chile as an ingredient? Order it!
- Green market ingredients. Bartenders are thinking beyond fresh fruit and are incorporating any ingredient found at the farmers markets into drinks. Think herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers.
- Smoke. Mezcal, tequila's smoky cousin, was everywhere at the festival!
- Special ice cubes. Meehan's serious about his ice and has a professional ice sculpturist cut perfectly clean cubes of ice for his bar. It's not cheap; the ice cubes cost $.75 a piece. To make clear cubes at home, Meehan recommends using warm distilled water.
- Sweeteners that match the spirit. If making a drink with tequila, mixologists are using agave nectar instead of simple syrup to sweeten it. This method can be applied to other spirits: when making rum drinks, trendy bartenders use demerara syrup.
- Punch. Savvy barkeeps are adding punch to their menus. Why? Punch is a quick and easy way to accommodate large groups. When a group of 10 arrives at a bar, instead of having to make 10 different drinks (which could take lots of time), the bartender just has to make one giant bowl of punch!
- Bacon in cocktails. Meehan and Krader are totally over this over-the-top antic. Pork products do not belong in drinks!
- Hipster bartenders. Meehan's also not a fan of the mustaches, beards, and tattoos that have become abundant behind bars. A bartender that's more concerned with his appearance than his drink-making skills is not a good thing.
- Free-pouring. Mixology is like baking and the ingredients should be precisely measured.
- Homemade bitters and tinctures. Cocktails that involve a bunch of special, house-made ingredients aren't easy for the drink enthusiast to re-create. Meehan prefers libations that are made with ingredients that can be found everywhere.
What trends are you most excited for?
Source: Flickr User sneakums