The cocktail trends of this coming year

In the land of drinks, things can come and go in a flash. One minute the world is enjoying a Negroni; the next day they switched to Virginia wine. It can be hard to keep up, we know that, but we know enough about the industry. And we are so thanks to the discussion with connoisseurs, early and often.

So, with 2022 still underway, what should we expect to see from a bar stool perspective? Blue drinks? More non-alcoholic beer options? The continued rise of spirits like cognac and sherry? Well, there’s no fun in giving away the whole ending, but we’ve taken a look at the crystal ball and come away with some key points you can bet on in terms of bar this year.

Carley Gaskin

Let’s start with flavored whiskeys, something we’ve seen skyrocket in 2021, with no signs of slowing down this year. Expect to see more homemade brews at your favorite watering holes and new releases, well beyond the buzzy ones like peanut butter. With a long list of complementary flavors, ranging from fruit to nuts, we’re ready to see some interesting releases.

We also predict that agave spirits like mezcal and tequila will continue to gain momentum, likely less in the celebrity realm and more in the down-to-earth realm. Consumers are drinking brands they believe in more and more and will likely be influenced less and less by what an NBA star drinks or what canned wine an actor fills his Instagram feed with. Beware of a real revival with mezcal, in particular, and pop culture to treat it with more nuance and reverence than we do now (you know, beyond the stereotypical “oh, the smoky kind of tequila” ).

Christopher Amirault is the head mixologist at The Maybourne luxury hotel in Beverly Hills. There, an impressive drinks program includes delicious cocktails like Tikki Tea, a blend of green tea-infused mezcal, citrus, coconut and yuzu. He thinks the near future is about being environmentally conscious and portable. “Most bars are exploring ways to continue to make their methods of operation more sustainable while simultaneously capitalizing on takeout methods like ready-to-drink,” says Amirault.

A cocktail of rusty fingernails.

In Hawaii, Jim Lunchick is a mixologist at Merriman’s. He sees the tiki trend getting stronger, with the corresponding ingredients to keep it going. “Come aboard the falernum train,” he advises. “In 2022, mixologists will continue to flesh out homemade mixers and syrups that reinvigorate the classics. Specifically, I anticipate syrup heads will start making their own version of falernum.

Ice is an often overlooked component of the cocktail realm, but Lunchick thinks that’s about to change, with ice potentially even stealing the show soon. “Be prepared to be offered four different ice options with your cocktail,” he says. “Just make sure you don’t forget your cocktail glove.” He also believes in blue this year, from blue sustainable paper straws to gin and even blue ice cream. “Blue is the new light when it comes to cocktail trends,” he adds.

At the Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club in Honolulu, Christian Taibi is the bar manager of Mahina & Sun’s resident bar. He thinks we’ll all want to be together again, especially as the pandemic subsides. “How you communicate with your guests will be just as important as what’s in their glass,” he says. “The desire to be around people and to mix and mingle will take precedence. The art of conversation will take precedence over the art of mixology.

Of course, there will be drinks. Taibi believes that what is old will become new again. “We’ll see a continued resurgence, and even improvement, of retro classics like the crowd-pleasing Cosmopolitan and Rusty Nails,” he says. “People want nostalgia and yearn for ‘the way things used to be,’ but want a slight twist on them. Retro cocktails are sure to become even more incredibly relevant.

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