10 Beverage and Mixology Trends to Watch in 2016

8. Garnishes Go Wild

Instagram-worthy garnishes, from gold-dusted flowers, dehydrated fruits, sugar stirrers and designer straws, are growing in popularity. These cocktail embellishments give restaurateurs and hoteliers equal opportunity to add pizzazz to their beverage offerings.

Toki Underground in Fairfax, VA, tops its bourbon and pepper-honey cocktail with a perfectly smoked piece of pork belly. Bon Marche in San Francisco serves fun striped paper straws in cocktails such as the Last Metro, made with Pimm’s No. 1, Dubonnet Rouge, Montenegro, strawberries and lemon.

For operators looking to outsource, Dress the Drink offers culinary and mixologist garnishes nationwide. It can customize and develop any garnish based on the bar’s concept and drink profile, from shimmering exotic flowers floating in cocktails to gold flakes dusted on a glass rim.

Unique garnishes can take any cocktail offering to the next level—and merit a higher price per drink.

9. Bloody Mary Bonanza

Although Bloody Marys have always been popular, we expect to see more creative presentations of this fan-favorite. From inventive garnishes and new components to larger-than-life carts at posh brunch spots throughout the country, Bloodies continue to evolve from the traditional spicy tomato juice and vodka recipes.

The Bloody Mary Cart at 1313 Main in Napa, CA, has more than 20 choices for add-ons, including fried oysters, duck pastrami, fried shrimp cocktail, sriracha salt, fresh grated egg yolk cured in salt, kimchi brussel sprouts and candied jalapenos. What’s more, the restaurant makes the tomato juice from heirloom tomatoes grown in its garden, combined with lemon and spices for a one-of-a-kind recipe.

Bar Toma in Chicago offers a Bloody Mary Tower that’s meant to be shared for groups of two to four people; it has a slice of pepperoni pizza soaking in it.

And the All About Mary at Todd English’s P.U.B. in Las Vegas doubles as a meal, since it’s topped with a chicken wing, slider, cocktail shrimp, a corn dog and pickled veggies.

10. A Matcha Made in Heaven

Matcha, a powdered green tea with a hint of sweetness and many health benefits, is taking the world by storm. Just in the past year, matcha sales are up by nearly 55%.

Botanical drinks are also giving drink connoisseurs something to talk about. With consumers looking for healthier, less-sweet food and drink alternatives, many are turning to green beverages.

From teas to smoothies to favorite cocktail drinks people are asking for fresh plant-based ingredients. Mint, ginger and everything in between add a bit of freshness and flare to our favorite drinks.

Inspired by the age-old Japanese tea, MatchaBar in New York is the first specialty cafe that dedicates itself to matcha: Everything it serves is boosted by the green energy-supplying tea.

L.A. Chapter at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles has a full menu of ’80s inspired drinks. One is a Midori Sour, with Aylesbury Duck vodka, Midori melon liqueur, green Chartreuse, lime, honey, egg white and a matcha tincture.

Andrew Freeman is president Andrew Freeman & Co., a boutique hospitality- and restaurant-consulting firm based in San Francisco. For the company’s full 2016 trend report, visit www.afandco.com.

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