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Top 10 Cocktail and bar trends 2013

As the hazy memories of Christmas and New Year fade, taking with them a rather spirited 2012, we take a look at which cocktail and bar trends will be on our minds in 2013.

Innovative glassware: One of the top cocktail and bar trends to take off in 2013

Last year bar menus were dominated by classic cocktails, Prohibition-era drinks with a modern edge and fantastical garnishes, but times they are a-changing.

Will 80s-inspired cocktails hit the big-time, or will fruity flavours win out over floral? Have classic cocktails had their day? It’s time to look at what cocktail and bar trends 2013 has in store for the global bar industry.

We asked some of the world’s best bartenders and friends of The Spirits Business what their top predictions are for the year ahead.

1. Easy serve cocktails

“Bottled cocktails (like those pictured above from Master of Malt) have been around for hundreds of years, and have seen a resurgence recently with many great bars having bottled single and multiple serves on their cocktail lists. An emerging trend is tapped cocktails, running cocktails through beer taps. Bars in the US have done tapped negronis and manhattans as well as many original cocktails. Tapped cocktails add a point of difference, ensure consistency and make serving the cocktail quick and easy. However some say the theatre and ritual of preparing and crafting a drink are lost.” – Perryn Collier, Alfred and Constance, Brisbane, Australia.

“I expect to see more ‘ready-mixed’ drinks, punch bowls, vatted drinks, and pre-mixed cocktails in speed rail bottles. It makes sense as both a time saving device and for better consistency – guests no longer see the visible mixing part of a cocktail as an essential part of the experience. Ambience, music, presentation and flavour win over.” – Tristan Stephenson, co-founder of Purl, London.

2. Fun

“The main thing I have seen is the ‘anti-blah backlash: a disturbing amount of high-end drinking establishments seem to have taken away the idea that drinking is fun. I think 2013 will see a much healthier display of bartenders having fun, serving up quicker and quirkier drinks in a much less ‘broom up the backside’ style. We are in a fun industry so let’s act like it.” – Mike Stringer, Hire the Barman, London.

3. Evolving flavours

“Cocktails that evolve in the glass will become more prevalent – from herbs and spices that release their flavors as they sit in the cocktail to custom ice that imparts more flavor as it melts.” – Troy Sidle, Pouring Ribbons, NYC.

4. Glassware

“Interesting vessels and elaborate garnishes will grow in popularity this year. Going beyond the cocktails in jam jars and teapots trend, I think we will continue to see bars pushing the boundaries when it comes to the vessels used for cocktails. The Aviary in Chicago utilizes very forward-thinking and unique vessels (such as the Porthole pictured above) and I think more and more bars will follow suit.

Large and elaborate garnishes are also making a comeback, not necessarily the large tiki-style garnishes but well thought out, adventurous garnishes that heighten the multi sensory experience of the drink. Not only do these garnishes look amazing but they also add layers of aroma, and in some cases are edible as well, adding another dimension in terms of taste. The bartenders at Nightjar in London are doing amazing things with garnishes.”  – Perryn Collier, Alfred and Constance, Brisbane, Australia.

5. Bartender-owned bars

“Small independent but excellent owner-operated bars are one thing we have been missing a little so far in the UK – something from the States that had not really taken off until Happiness Forgets turned up in Hoxton Square. I’ve been massively impressed by what the guys at Happiness have done on a shoestring. Drinks and service have been excellent every time I’ve gone and they’ve caused a real stir in the industry. Hopefully this will be an inspiration for more bartenders to strike out on their own and make small, beautiful things happen.” – Edmund Weil, co-founder Nightjar, London.

6. Beer cocktails

“The craft beer scene has really taken off in Australia recently and I think this trend will continue. The amount of new domestic and international beers available is remarkable and specialised beer venues are popping up all over the place. With the array of styles comes a huge spectrum of flavours and as a result I predict that we will see more and more of these beers being utilised in the creation of cocktails. Death and Co. in New York have a “noble hops” section in their cocktail list which utilizes different beers to add flavour to cocktails.” – Perryn Collier, Alfred and Constance, Brisbane, Australia.

7. Local spirits

“Spirits made in the UK will steal the limelight this year, brands such as Sipsmith (pictured above), Adnams, and Sacred Gin.” – Yoann Lazareth, head bartender, Bulgari Hotel, London.

8. Whiskey

“The explosion of new craft distilleries in the States continues apace. The States seems to be finally on its way to regaining the diversity and quality of distilled drinks it enjoyed before Prohibition and there are constantly lots of fascinating new and revived brands on the market.  I just hope that enough will find distributors in the UK at viable prices.” – Edmund Weil, co-founder, Nightjar, London.

“I think whiskey will be in full flow by the end of 2013. I know for a fact that a few companies are getting ready to push.” – JJ Goodman, co-founder, London Cocktail Club, London.

9. Non-alcoholic cocktails

“I think that non- and low-alcohol cocktails will be a popular trend. It’s attractive for the health conscious (consumer) and the GP conscious (owner).” – Tristan Stephenson, co-founder, Purl, London.

10. Floral flavours

“I think floral flavours in drinks could come back into fashion, especially through oriental flavours.” – Yoann Lazareth, head bartender, Bulgari Hotel, London.

“This year will be the year of fruity drinks, but combine this with floral flavours and you will have a supreme cocktail.“ Sergiu Cucuiet, Barock, Romania

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