Drinking Trends at Tales of the Cocktail 2014
Fernet Branca. Barrel aged cocktails. Mezcal. The Swizzle.
Recent cocktail trends such as these must come from somewhere, right? Are the bartenders the ones who started the trend of drinking Fernet Branca? Or is it keen marketing by a big brand? Or is it a drink writer who hypes up the hidden versatility of Fernet? All of these actions play a role in what we’ll accept as the “next best thing,” including events like Tales of the Cocktail, which took place in New Orleans from July 16-20.
Some of the trends we noticed at the world's premier drink event we've seen around — some are new, and some may never take flight, but either way we love what’s going on in the hotbed of cocktail trends.
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Punch is easy to serve at events, especially if you have awesome mugs to go with your punch bowl.
At Tales, Pavan Liqueur (basically a sweeter and more floral St. Germain) served bright punches alongside cocktails prepared by the glass. Some punch bowls even featured foraged flowers.
But bowls filled with boozy juices and fruit have been taking the Drink Nation by storm for the last few years. It’s one trend which encourages communal drinking that we know will stick around.
From events sponsored by Banks Rum to the first-ever release of Stiggin’s Fancy Plantation Pineapple Rum, the oft-forgotten liquor made quite a showing at Tales of the Cocktail. Although we love Tiki drinks, we’ve been rooting for rum to make an appearance in drinks across the board. We think it will happen, especially with local craft distilleries making less likely blends such as coffee rum.
Accommodating to the Guest
It seems the "take my cocktail, or leave it" approach is becoming less popular. In seminars and at tastings during Tales of the Cocktail, one trend kept popping up, and it was allowing for guest accommodations. Think: bartenders only rimming half of a cocktail glass with salt so the customer can modify taste themselves. It may seem like catering too much to the customer, but it’s all a part of the experience. If the customer has some say in the process they’re likely to have a better time, and that’s always the goal.
In the seminar “The Art & Science of Cocktail Menus” with Jack McGarry, Ian McLaren, Joaquín Simó, and Ryan Magarian, mocktails came up in the conversation about planning an award-winning menu. If intense planning and thought go into the alcoholic side of the menu, why shouldn't that same fervor go into the non-alcoholic side? Come to think of it, we’ve seen quite a few gorgeous mocktails around lately. Believe it or not, we support the notion of a well-rounded menu for non-drinkers too!
Tags: Cocktails, Rum, Spirits, Tequila