Just like everything else in the world, cocktails are always evolving. Bartenders are forever finding new ways of incorporating subtle flavours and unique textures into our favourite poolside drinks.
If you want to stay in the mix of what’s stirring in the cocktail world, be sure to visit the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Global Finals , taking place in Johannesburg and Cape Town from August 30th to September 4th. But if you can’t make it the event, don’t worry – we’ve rounded up the 4 biggest international cocktail trends that you need to try mixing up this spring!
1 Fruits and plants
Don’t misunderstand us – we’re not talking your usual strawberries and citruses. Mixologists are are leaning towards organically grown fruits and veggies that will add unexpected flavours to drinks. A lot of the pros are adopting a “from garden to glass” mentality – making the most of authentic local flavours by “foraging” for wild ingredients! Bring out your inner-explorer and go on the hunt for pine needles and bamboo shoots, or you can plant your own little garden filled with this season’s trending produce: beets, carrots, fennel and snow peas.
Forget about your Appletinis and Cosmos because traditional sugar-based drinks are being replaced by balanced mixes, suitable for every palate. New layers of depth and complexity are being added to fruity cocktails by throwing in a dash (or more!) of bitters. Bitters are made from alcohol infused with aromatic plant extracts, and just a drop of the rich and spicy liquid can perfectly balance out the sweetness of a cocktail. With the hundreds of new options now available on the market, (think exotic spices, local flavours, spicy, savoury, salty, herbal), this trend has the potential to go way further than just the Old Fashioned or the Manhattan!
3 Aperitifs and digestifs
The old tradition of drinking before and after a meal is making a big comeback; fine drinking and fine dining now go hand-in-hand. An aperitif is a crisp drink meant to open the palate and awaken the senses before a meal. A touch of acidity or bitterness is key – a lime juice based beverage will really get your tastebuds tingling. During a meal, opt for a low ABV drink to complement the food. A digestif is drunk just after a meal in order to aid digestion. Choose something strong containing herb liqueurs, bitters, brandy or ports.
4 Herbs and teas
Touching on the foraging trend again; mixologists are using homegrown, organic, picked-straight-from-the-garden herbs in their concoctions. It’s not just about mint and basil anymore: aromatic herbs like coriander, dill and parsley are in the cocktail spotlight. Remember the days when we used to only drink punch? The fruit teas, black teas and green teas that made up those party-mixes are making a big return. Bartenders are experimenting with creative and versatile tea-infused cocktails – and not just fruity teas, but also sharper and more herbal varieties.
Want to steal some tips from a pro mixologist? Check out our GLAM Chat with Ali Dedianko!