Cocktail – A world seeped in history & old world charm, “decorative” drinks and a word often used as a generic for a Drinks party ! We all enjoy making cocktails, mixing them & adding our personal touch to it. As such, there are as many versions of any popular cocktail, as many people making it ! For a long while, Cocktails were made primarily with white spirits and exotic garnishes, though over the last few years, Cocktails have evolved almost as a craft. Consumers also want to demonstrate their knowledge of brands, new trends and enjoy sharing stories with fellow consumers and friends.
The global cocktail scene, has evolved off late & it will impact the bar and the beverage scene, not just in 2020 but even for the better part of 2021. Unique food & Cocktail experiences, nutrition based additives, exploring the story behind the spirit, the search for exotic and exciting flavours….lots is happening behind the scenes in Cocktails.
- At Home Experiences with Cocktails
Staying in, is the new going out with consumers preferring the convenience of a home environment ! People want to socialise within intimate group of friends and ‘known strangers’. With an increase in drinking at home, they are also showing off their cocktail making skills. Market studies state that atleast 35% of all cocktail consumption happens at home and over 40% of consumers have tried creating new cocktails at home. Consumers are also crafting new style of popular cocktails, as well as creating their new concoctions. Old fashioned cocktails are being revived with a new presentation and people are experimenting with new flavors .
Growth & convenience in Cocktails is also leading to canning the cocktail. Pre – mixed cocktails in a sophisticated and eco friedly packaging is being preferred by consumers. The can will don a new look and even bottles will be increasingly used more & more as a packaging solution. Increasingly, consumers will be choosing low ABV or no ABV beverages. This will be primarily driven by mindful drinking, a wider choice and adoption of a healthy lifestyle. The consumption will be far more frequent and even through the day. Therefore the market for Sherries, Vermouth, fortified wines and lighter cocktails will emerge. However there will be no compromise on the taste and flavor. This category will not be referred to as mocktails but will have a presence of its own.
Even though consumers are far more value driven, there is a move towards premiumization. People want to elevate their everyday experiences and are seeking new flavor profiles and beverages. They are willing to pay a premium for quality and will factor in the brand & its values. They are also upgrading to more premium spirits. With health and wellness being a key consideration, Cocktails are witnessing a range of natural mixers & healthier options. The days of heavily sugared syrups or sweetened mixers are limited as consumers are adopting fresh, natural and flavorful ingredients in their Cocktails. Coconut water, natural teas and herbs are the primary choice of ingredients, with premium Spirits, to raise the bar for Cocktails.
3. Spirits with Story
In the near future, Rum will lead the way with Cocktails. There will be an upward movement in not just the consumption of Rum but also rum based cocktails. Consumers will select their Rum before deciding on the cocktail. Dark rum will lead the way for premiumization whilst rum will also come with different finishes and flavors. Gin will continue to be a hot favourite with different flavours. Whisky, specially Bourbon & Irish whiskey will lead the way for Whisky cocktails. Tequila will go beyond North America to emerge as a premium choice in Cocktails. Consumers are looking at complete transparency in their purchases, from information on the labels to the freshness of the ingredients, the age of the spirits and even factors including animal welfare and fair trade practices of the brand. Over 70% of consumers have confirmed that they will not buy from brands that will not be transparent in their product information. Consumers will also go more for spirits with a story. They need to connect and relate to the stories, almost like a personality match. Mainstream brands are also becoming open and accessible about their views on public issues. Product design innovation and the communication also reflects on the “spirit” of the brand and how true it is to its word. Sustainability is being taken seriously.
4. Flavors and Fusions
Following the massive popularity of flavoured Pink Gin in 2019, more new twists with the colour PINK. Whether it’s in the form of rosé wine-gin fusion drinks, homemade pink Gin or Retro pink cocktails, this is one trend that simply isn’t going away yet.Turmeric and Rose are the top new flavors, with close catch up byTarragon, celery roots & green matcha Trendy cocktails have moringa, goji berries, pandan, fenugreek. Taste international flavors arencoming from North Africa, Japan and Latin America, such as harissa-infused mescal or plantain-infused scotch.
Berries are a top flavor profile and interesting flavors like ginger, aromatic bitters, sparkling water, homemade infusions, lavender, summer flowers and plant based flavors will be the primary choice. Whilst on one end, there will be a healthy movement of ideas and innovations in flavors, on the other side local ingredients will be used. Coffee, Kombucha, herbal teas, local fruits and natural water will be key trends. Crimson seems like the new colour of the season, as a number of cocktails are being designed around bright and cheerful colours.
Gin is a vegan-friendly spirit, which is good news for the rapidly growing numbers of converts to the vegan diet!. Forward-thinking bars are now catering for this Huge Vegan trend. Specific cocktails that are suitable for vegans, is a growing trend. 45% bartenders are looking at 0 waste ingredients & 88% consider sustainability when designing a new cocktail.
Cocktails will be offered as courses, with paired dishes, matching flavors & tasting menus. The crop to cocktail movement will also ensure that you can now almost eat your cocktail. Food and drink will go hand in hand and will create a new experience, a more savoury kind !. Cocktails made with cucumber, mint, Greek yogurt and lemon are only two examples of new savory drinks. Taste buds will be surprised by mushroom beverages like fungi Irish coffee, mushroom and thyme infused vodka and mushroom tea with sparkling wine. New combinations will also include obscure vegetables like tomatillo, chayote, fiddleheads, jicama, and sunchoke.
5. Highball is the new High in Cocktails
Consumers have a personal style of enjoying a Highball. The crispness in the drink, taste of the whisky and temperature play a key role in appreciating this trending Cocktail. Whisky & Soda play the Trumpet – chunks of ice, tall glassware & an aromatic citrus twist, with whisky selection across Blends, Single Malts & even Bourbon. Industry Leaders predicts a huge High for the Whisky Highball.Most folks prefer that it is made with lighter Japanese Whiskies. Australia has some seen increasing success with the concept of the highball as more than just a way to water down a whisky for the faint of heart. Even though the concept has been celebrated by the Japanese market it is still relatively new to our shores. Point of fact is the integration of the highball as a easy to create summer cocktail is seeing more and more consumption by request. I can sight it is largely due to Suntory’s influence around 2014 with the launch of the Hakushu and Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserves which were originally promoted as whiskies designed for Highball cocktails. When balanced well with soda or tonic and some herbal or citrus influence gives patrons a clear indication that whisky does not have to be consumed neat but instead can be clean and refreshing any time of the year.
Enjoy Responsibly !