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Cocktail, Bar & Beverage Trends for 2015

March 7, 2015

We explored trends that will be shaping 2015 in terms of cuisine, food and dining. Now, we turn our attention to the cocktail, bar and beverage scene for 2015. This is not just limited to Southern California, but more broad-reaching, with input from across the country. Researching this topic included —interviews with local chefs, restaurant & mixology consultants, annual studies and food, restaurant & beverage association insights.

So, let’s take a look at how this industry is trending in the New Year.

Beverage Trends “The Cocktail and Spirits”
Herbal Liqueurs: Mysterious ancient blends of botanicals, flowers, spices, citrus peels, herbs, tree barks are new again, to new generations of drinkers. What once were stand-alone before, or after dinner drinks … chartreuse, maraschino, Benedictine, and, especially, absinthe—are now adding body and depth to inventive cocktails.

Hybrid Spirits: Pandering to millennials and women, manufacturers accelerate sweetening name-brand brown whiskies with honey, maple syrup or flavoring them with cinnamon, apples, ginger, vanilla, cherries, or even pumpkin pie spice.

Vodka Replaced by Whiskey: Bourbon, rye, blends and Scotch are enjoying a renaissance because drinkers want more body. They are more distinctive with lots of variation from brand to brand. And there’s the rub-off from the wine culture—these products get better with age in the barrel.

Hard Cider: The craft beer movement has paved the way for artisanal and hard ciders, on tap, in bottles or cans and mixed into cocktails.
Gin Is In: Freeman indicates this is THE liquor of 2015. Bars across the country are making classic Gin & Tonics, with obscure tonics and artisanal gins.

Beverage Trends “It’s All In The Delivery”
Wine On Tap: Bars are going green and serving up even their higher-end favorite wines via kegs vs. individual bottles.

Beyond Beer to Micheladas: Cocktails with beer in them are finding favor in trendy bars. But watch for Micheladas—a beer-based drink enlivened with a bevy of sauces, spices or even clamato juice.

Sharable Punch Bowls: Mixologists in fancy places are concocting large-format punches that serve from multitudes of guests—with no limits on pricing or ingredients.

Flasks: Bartenders are incorporating flasks into the mix. At Rose.Rabbit.Lie in Las Vegas, for example, large-format cocktails are served in customized glass flasks that guests can take home with them.

Creative Packaging: Wines are being bottled in former milk bottles. The restaurant Wine Lab in Costa Mesa, Calif. serves wine flights in test tubes.

Mini-Cocktails: The short cocktail, or miniature versions of full-sized cocktails, will give guests a taste at lower prices. Dominick’s in Los Angeles, for example, offers 3.5-ounce classic cocktails for $4 during happy hour.

Dramatic Delivery: Bars are putting more theater into the mix. Gaspar Brasserie in San Francisco serves the Café Brulot. Huber’s, the oldest restaurant in Portland, prepares their Spanish Coffee upon request. Both serve an after-dinner drink that is set aflame tableside and extinguished with coffee. It is quite a show!

Liquid Nitrogen: Freeman sees this as the next big thing in coffee. Flash-brewed iced coffee is placed under liquid nitrogen, resulting in a rich and creamy mouth feel that evokes Guinness.

So now…. my glass-clinking, toast-boasting friends, you are completely in the know. In past blog articles, we have covered trends on cuisine, food & dining, and now cocktails and beverages.

Sources: Personal interviews with chefs and owners, restaurant consultants with a pulse on worldly trends, National Restaurant Association, Nation’s Restaurant News, a trends study by Baum + Whiteman a well-known food and restaurant consulting company, Andrew Freeman in his eighth annual trend prediction report for 2015, by his firm Andrew Freeman & Co., based in San Francisco and of course my personal opinion as a very observant foodie aficionado.

Written by @visitnewportbeach

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