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Southern Glazer’s reveals top cocktail trends for 2019

From the versatility of tea to spirits with vegetal characteristics, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits has revealed the cocktail trends set to make waves in 2019.

Cocktails are set to continue their upward momentum into 2019 – but what’s driving the trend?

Following an “extensive” tasting tour across the US led by a team of national sales staff and mixologists, Southern Glazer’s has identified five cocktail trends “driving innovation” in the on-trade.

The team headed to 80 venues in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City, Missouri and Dallas, where they tasted 400 cocktails across the states.

The research was led by Brian Masilionis, a certified specialist of wine and spirits from the society of Wine Educators, and director of national accounts, on-premise, for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

“What we know is that consumers now expect more complex and layered flavours in cocktails,” said Masilionis. “However, while they want to be surprised and delighted, they still want to stay in their comfort zone.

“This explains why some of the most successful on-premise programmes start with a classic cocktail as a base, then use an ever-expanding range of ingredients to make the drink more interesting. The results can keep an on-premise beverage programme on the leading edge, while also staying true to the retail concept.”

Click through the following pages to see what Southern Glazer’s has predicted will trend in the on-trade this year. 

Toasting to texture

According to Southern Glazer’s, cocktails “with proper texture result in drinks that feel substantial”. Ice can help to deliver texture, flavour and visual impact. Large blocks of ice reduce dilution and can also be branded or stamped.

Texture can also be altered through the use of egg whites to add a soft texture to citrus-focussed serves.

Drinking your veggies

To add a twist to classic cocktails, vegetable flavours such as cucumber, celery, peppers and peas are now being used. In addition, bartenders are using spirits with vegetal characteristics, such as Green Chartreuse, its “sweeter, lower-level cousin” Yellow Chartreuse and aquavit.

Vegetables and vegetal spirit ingredients add “fresh bright flavours” and “unique vibrant colours” to cocktails.

It’s good to be bitters

Shaking their reputation as after-dinner drinks are amaro and bitters which are being used more often “to tone down and balance drinks that are too tart or sweet”.

Examples include bitter orange liqueur brand Aperol and artichoke-based liqueur Cynar.

In addition, Angostura bitters is “making its way to the forefront as a major ingredient in cocktails”.

Wine lovers rejoice

Wine is said to compliment cocktails as it helps to “reduce the need to add excessive amounts of alcohol” and adds “a softer sweetness than syrups”.

The addition of red wine gives cocktails colour and flavour while sparkling wines can add “bubbly texture”.

The bartender barista

In cocktails, coffee and tea are being used for their “smoothness, earthiness, and subtle smokiness” as well as their ability to stand up to more “assertive” spirits.

Teas from around the world can offer “versatility and more nuanced flavours”. This includes the “slight bitterness” from black tea, the “roasty” notes of green tea and “grassy flavours” in matcha tea.

“The gap between the two crafts is getting smaller; more coffee shops now serve alcohol and therefore baristas are keen to learn more about the art of cocktail making,” said Maja Jaworska, Grey Goose coffee ambassador.

“Blending the skills and knowledge of bartenders and baristas means that we will see quality coffee more widely used in cocktails.”

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