Like fashion and food, the landscape of cocktails is largely predicted by popular trends. Thanks to the resurgence of classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and the martini, 2015 was a great time for spirit aficionados. But with a new year come new trends and new techniques. Here’s what to look out for in 2016.
Disco Era Cocktails Classic cocktails will continue to be popular, with the Old Fashioned, martini, Manhattan, and mojito leading the pack. But we’ll also see the return of fun and funky libations that were last prominent in the 1970s. Sweet, fruity, and even creamy drinks like the Grasshopper and Harvey Wallbanger will be cool again thanks to retooled recipes and quality ingredients.
Mexican and Indian Influences For decades, tequila was the only native spirit served outside the borders of Mexico. That is, until a few years ago. Thanks to the introduction of mezcal, bartenders and consumers have been eager to get their hands on more obscure Mexican spirits like bacanora and sotol. Indian influences will also make their way into drinks, with spices such as garam masala and turmeric popping up in unique creations.
Frozen Cocktails Frozen cocktails are no longer reserved for tropical vacations. We’ll start to see bars around the world serving well-known sips like the daiquiri and piña colada. But bartenders will also continue their quest to set themselves apart from the rest, crafting unexpected blends like the frozen gin and tonic.
Vermouth Vermouth will be featured in more than just your standard martini. The fortified wine has the ability to transform a drink without adding much alcohol, which will be increasingly important to the health-conscious. Similarly, low-calorie and even no-alcohol cocktails are set to become even more popular in 2016.
Savory Cocktails Not feeling the disco era or frozen cocktails? Have no fear: Savory libations will be everywhere this year. Beer will work its way into many more cocktails, as will umami ingredients like mushrooms, seaweed, celery, and spinach.
Presentation, Presentation, Presentation #Foodporn may have dominated Instagram the last few years, but expect #cocktailporn to be the next big thing. Bartenders will continue to increase their focus on presentation, putting emphasis on interesting glassware and vibrant colors. Olives and onions will take a backseat to wacky garnishes like candy, flowers, and slices of red meat. Not quite ready to say goodbye to 2015? Hold on to the year’s best libations by picking up Food & Wine Cocktails 2015, which features 150 recipes from today’s rising star mixologists.