Ah, the start of a new year signals a fresh wave of possibilities, especially in beverages. The horizon of 2024 holds the promise of a diverse tapestry of trends, from the rise of health-conscious botanical elixirs to low-alcohol libations and the emergence of niche spirits.
Insights from leading bartenders and beverage directors hint at a mosaic of emerging cocktail trends for 2024. From avant-garde savory cocktails and revitalized martinis to a burgeoning demand for niche spirits and conscientiously crafted libations, the landscape promises a fusion of traditional favorites and inventive flavors. The forecast also heralds a rise in non-alcoholic alternatives, a continued affection for bitter Italian concoctions, and an enduring love for tropical blends.
Here’s a glimpse of more of what to expect this year in the drink scene:
Local and Sustainable Emphasis: Bars and restaurants focusing on sustainability and local ingredients will draw more attention, with inventive zero-waste approaches gaining popularity.
Agave’s Continued Rise: Tequila’s popularity will persist, accompanied by emerging spirits like Sotol entering the American market alongside agave-infused shrubs and syrups.
Tea’s Ascendancy: Non-alcoholic beverages, especially those incorporating tea, are projected to grow in popularity due to their depth and bitter notes, creating the potential for both cold and hot tea cocktails.
Dry Spritz Summer and Improved Non-Alcoholic Recipes: Dry, low-alcohol cocktails like spritzes will continue to be favored, catering to a younger audience seeking a more modest buzz. Expect more options and local twists in this category.
Fat Washes: The technique of infusing flavors using fat washes, seen in bourbon this year, is expected to expand across the bar table, providing accessible and consistent flavor profiles.
Scotch’s Comeback: Scotch will likely be utilized more in mixed drinks, offering an earthy, smoky alternative, potentially replacing other spirits in classic cocktails.
Eastern European Liqueurs: Lesser-known liqueurs from Eastern Europe, akin to Amari, might gain prominence, offering unique aromatics and flavors to cocktails.
Age Imitation: Replicating the aging process for flavors could become significant, especially in an economy facing shortages and rising wood costs.
Reverse Acidity: A technique involving reverse acidity in cocktails, seen in a clarified coffee milk punch, could offer an innovative approach by using vinegar to eliminate acidity from drinks.
American Clean Spirits: Spirits focusing on terroir, such as gin, and improved versions of vodka are expected to thrive, with a potential resurgence in moonshine or un-aged whiskey.
Mood-Enhancing Cocktails: Experimentation with mood-enhancing cocktails, incorporating terpenes for effects like stress relief or memory improvement, might become more prevalent.
The Realm of Health and New Flavor Fusions
Jennifer Zhou, a senior director at ADM, predicts a surge in personalized flavors across foods, beverages, and supplements. Health-conscious consumers lean towards “wellness flavors” like blueberry, citrus, green tea, and turmeric. These flavors align with various health goals, including heart and gut health, energy, and stress relief.
Citrus flavors, recognized for their association with wellness, offer functionality and a refreshing taste, ranging from mainstream choices like yuzu to emerging flavors like pomelo and finger lime. Floral flavors, such as lavender and cherry blossom, indicate relaxation and sophistication, while fermented and pickled tastes align with the growing interest in gut health.
The fusion of spicy and sweet notes continues to gain popularity, featuring combinations like mango chili and grapefruit chili. Sweet flavors, including caramelized fruits and nostalgic tastes like S’mores and cotton candy, maintain a strong presence. Nostalgic flavors evoke childhood memories, and seasonal varieties like pumpkin spice find year-round appeal.
Consumers also explore global and regional flavors, embracing Mediterranean influences and exotic tastes like pandan and ube. Predictions indicate a rise in futuristic and space-themed flavors. Indulgent options featuring umami-rich flavors and gourmet combinations, such as white chocolate raspberry swirl, cater to premium tastes.
Stay tuned to our blog to keep up to date with drink trends as they emerge!