If the last few years in cocktails have been marked by the moscow mule, it seems that things are about to change. New flavor profiles and a resurgence of liquors, including gin and mezcal, are hitting the palate in a big way, and more consumers are looking for richer, more in-depth cocktail concoctions.
"People are becoming more aware of what they are ordering and have access to a ton of information," Kyle Tran, beverage director at the New York, NY-based Library of Distilled Spirits, told POPSUGAR. "They come in and they want to almost stump you, but are really open to having a conversation about their favorite drinks. They will tell you what they like and then ask what you can make them that's similar but with a new twist," he said.
Additionally, he said, fresh ingredients and new flavors have been top of mind for the imbibing crowd this year, including the Library of Distilled Spirits's signature drink, the Madman, made with black truffle.
"It really is good, fresh ingredients that people care about in their cocktails, and we are lucky enough to have access to great ingredients. This allows us to expand the cocktail list a bit while also offering customers new flavors that they may not have had before," said Tran.
Evan Hosaka, lead bartender at Rosina inside The Palazzo Las Vegas, echoed Tran's sentiments, telling POPSUGAR that a modern twist on the classics will continue to trend in popularity this year, but seasonal ingredients and customization will be the key. To that, he explained that Rosina offers a beverage called The Seasonal Fix. Guests can customize the beverage with their liquor of choice, and it is served with seasonal ingredients such as muddled fruit and herbs.
Thomas Waugh, a 15-year craft libations veteran, noticed that consumers want both new and fresh but also reminders of yesteryear. For his new venture, The Pool Lounge, located in NYC, he chose a menu that riffs on classic drinks, celebrating the season's fruits, vegetables, spices, and even smoke. "We create drinks that focus on single flavors that are prime for the season," said Waugh. "The art is to amplify the flavors and achieve a multilayered complexity by building the recipes around them with complementary spirits and ingredients.
What else is going to be the drink in your cup this year? We have the scoop on the top-trending cocktails that will be making their way across the bar in 2018.