Raise the Bar: Exciting Cocktail Trends Set to Shake Up 2024

Amber Dias scouts out what everyone will be sipping in 2024.

It’s a whole new year, and the ever-evolving realm of mixology is set to see a remarkable transformation. From futuristic ingredients to avant-garde presentations to an increasingly growing sustainability consciousness to Gen Z influences, there are several factors that are driving what people will be drinking this year. You can place your bets on an exciting array of innovative and tantalising cocktail trends that will dominate the professional and domestic space as well.

In the ‘2024 Cocktail Trends Report’, Martin Raymond, Co-Founder, The Future Laboratory, said, “As the era of people-driven cocktail culture unfolds, drink brands will foster a world where innovation, experimentation and betterment know no bounds. Centred on social connection, togetherness and ultimately experience – the industry has the opportunity to set an example for the wider landscape, recalibrating and refocusing us all on the things that matter the most.”

Here’s a glimpse of what’s likely to be on the drinks menu this year…

Sustainable Mixology

Sustainability consciousness is at the forefront of transformation even in the mixology sphere. So it’s no surprise that bartenders are exploring sustainable methods and ingredients like locally sourced fruits and herbs for cocktails. Zero-waste garnishes, repurposing fruit peels for infusions and using biodegradable straws are some of the practices that we’ll be seeing more of. 

Rising Familiarity With Asian Spirits

The popularity of Japanese whisky has been building for some time now, but as we step into 2024, a broader range of Asian spirits are expected to gain momentum. These include Japanese shochu, Korean soju and Chinese baijiu – which are some of the oldest and most widely consumed spirits natively. This is a result of a growing curiosity about spirits distilled from a broader range of base ingredients, say experts. From a mixologist’s perspective, they offer new textures and flavours to get creative with. 

Whiskeys Of The World

Japanese and Taiwanese whiskies have been steadily gaining popularity across the world, and it looks like that trend will continue with more whiskies from a range of countries that aren’t well-known for producing this elixir. These include whiskies from Denmark, Israel, Peru and Australia. 

Bring On The Spice

Spicy and savoury cocktails seem to be gaining favour with consumers who are looking for complex and interesting flavours. There is a long list of spicy and savoury cocktails that already have their place on many a menu, but with mixologists experimenting with more flavours, there are so many new ones brewing too. Some of the more popular ones include the Bloody Mary, Dirty Martini, Ginger Basil Smash Jalapeño Margarita, Picante, and the Cucumber Wasabi Martini.

Coffee As A Cocktail Ingredient

The Espresso Martini has been a crowd favourite for some time, but coffee as an ingredient is set to play a bigger role in cocktails. Bitter, acidic, sometimes fruity or nutty, coffee has a lot to offer in terms of flavour; flavours that mixologists love to play with. It is also an ingredient that consumers are familiar with; this makes cocktails more approachable – especially on a brunch menu. 

Going Minimal

Less is more will be the mantra for the year, with the focus shifting to the quality of ingredients over quantity. They bring out the full potential of each ingredient, giving each ingredient a chance to shine and allowing consumers to savour the richness of the flavours. 

Botanical Twists

As the demand for health-conscious alternatives continues to rise, botanical elixirs are taking center stage. Mixologists are leaning towards incorporating a variety of herbs, flowers, and medicinal plants into their concoctions –  for their unique flavours and perceived health benefits. Elderflower, chamomile, hibiscus and more are finding their way into cocktails, offering a refreshing and aromatic experience that transcends traditional mixology.

Going High Tech

The technological revolution is leaving its imprint on the cocktail biz too, offering new routes to personalization, brand experience and community. Bars equipped with molecular gastronomy techniques, such as liquid nitrogen and sous vide, are experimenting with new processes and styles of presentation that are pushing the boundaries of cocktail creation. And it looks like AI (Artificial Intelligence) will shape the future of cocktails too, facilitating personalised experiences. 

Raise A Toast

The year promises to be fun, adventurous and delicious, at least as far as cocktails are concerned. The blending of flavours from around the globe, the infusion of health-conscious ingredients, and the integration of technology are leaving the door open for endless possibilities. And it looks like mixologists – professional and amateur alike – will have plenty to dabble with, which means those who like to sit back and savour a good drink, will have plenty more to choose from. Here’s to trying new flavours and living it up. Cheers!

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